As the holiday season passes and each of us returns to our regular routines, I find myself missing the spontaneous greetings from strangers, the casual good natured waving as one driver passes another in the hustle and bustle of frazzled people looking for empty spaces in snow filled parking lots and the warm smiles that seem to be pasted on most faces during late December and early January. It is easy to be kind when we hear an old man with a grey beard is checking a list for who is naughty or nice and there’s a lump of coal for those who fall short in being kind. But what are we doing the other eleven months of the year? I decided to take a look at Prince Albert to see if I can spot random acts of kindness any time of the year.
My search begins in my own neighbourhood. Whether it is sharing vegetables from the garden, taking the garbage or recycling bins to the curbside and returning them when they’re empty, or shoveling and blowing snow - I’ve hit the neighbour “jackpot” with Harry and Erwin. They’re two retired gentlemen who go out of their way to ensure they are giving back to their immediate community with their kindness and goodness, regardless of whether they receive thanks back or not.
Then there’s Lisa, who randomly cooks up big pots of soup full of thick broth, chunky vegetables and the most delicious, melt in your mouth meats one could think of. Serving them into take away cups, she sticks a spoon in each serving and goes driving downtown, looking for anyone who seems to need a hot meal on a chilly evening. She says, “If I was out there, I’d like to know someone cares about me” and that’s what she’s saying, one cup of soup at a time. She gives more than just a meal, she is building relationships and checking up on people that she sees on every soup run. It’s about conversation and it’s about treating others as she would wish to be treated. To me, that’s a beautiful gesture of human goodness.
A brief stop to pick up my prescriptions had me stopping in my tracks. On one of the coldest days of the year there was a pot of coffee with all the fixings inviting anyone to grab a cup of coffee at MediCentre Pharmacy on Second Avenue West. I thought this thoughtfulness might have just been due to the cold but, two weeks later, the pot of coffee is still there. And now, in the middle of January, cups of coffee are still available to anyone who would like one. This might seem like a small gesture to you, yet the coffee was hot and the creamer was name brand. Little details like this really make a difference in someone’s day.
Finally, there’s Prince Albert’s Cold Weather Strategy – this is a program where people can come inside and warm up in various locations throughout Prince Albert. The Salvation Army even has a breakfast program weekday mornings starting at 9:30 am. All of us have the ability to put a little bit of sunshine and cheerfulness in someone’s day – it just takes a bit of thoughtfulness and a desire to be kind. What random act of kindness can you perform today?