Kindness Doesn’t Cost

Make the other person feel important — and do it sincerely. ~ Dale Carnegie, American writer and developer of courses in self-improvement, public speaking, etc.

Several days ago, my path crossed with that of a stranger, and every time I recall it, I smile.

I was standing in the library, waiting to speak with one of the employees. In my hands was a sack of DVD’s that Domer had helped me gather from home; we meant to donate them to the library if they’d have them.

Standing in line ahead of me was a man — elderly, rather plain-faced, clean but not fancily dressed, and using a cane to walk. Beside him was a younger woman, perhaps his caregiver, daughter, or some other relative, who was busily checking out several movies.

As he turned to leave, the man glanced at me … and stared.

I averted my eyes. The sack in my hand was heavy, I had an immense list of things to do that day, and I didn’t particularly feel like becoming involved in a lengthy conversation with a stranger.

Then the man spoke. ‘Has anybody told you today how pretty you are?’ he asked.

My first instinct was to protest, but I abandoned that for fear he’d argue with me and create a scene.

‘What a nice thing to say!’ I replied instead, a smile spreading across my face. ‘Thank you.’

I don’t imagine this man had ever taken the Dale Carnegie Course, but he had Principle 6 (quoted above) down pat. Mr. Carnegie said ALL people have a craving to be appreciated.

It’s what differentiates us from animals.

Now I’m not talking about flattery in hopes of getting something in return. I’m talking about finding something nice to say to others, like the Random Acts of Kindness so popular today.

Kindness doesn’t cost us a thing, yet it yields a priceless feeling of euphoria when we say or do something nice that someone else can’t repay. And sincerely making others feel important — even for just a few seconds — can have a profound effect on their lives.

Like what this stranger did, which made my day.

Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns. ~Author Unknown


17 thoughts on “Kindness Doesn’t Cost

  1. What a lovely exchange. It not only made you feel good, it also allowed him to establish a connection with someone else, if only for a moment. These little exchanges are so important — and they’re impossible via “devices.” Yes, we can communicate information more easily than ever, but a little eye contact never hurts, either!

    • Linda, you’re so right! Sadly, too often we’re kind to others when it best serves our own purposes. That’s not the Golden Rule we learned as kids. And it seems to me that all of us, if we’re observant, can find a way to brighten the day — and lighten the load — of someone else!

  2. Aw, how lovely! There’s a certain liberty that comes with age where older people can say things that young people just couldn’t get away with. And a compliment out of the blue is the best kind!

    • I think you’re right. The same goes for little kids, but they really have to be taught to notice nice things and comment positively. But an unexpected compliment really does make one’s day!

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