Last week my son and I were in the car and the news came on. “Mom,” he piped up from the back seat, “doesn’t it seem like the news is always bad? Doesn’t it seem like the news is getting worse and worse all the time?”
He has a point. And it’s too bad that he has to learn that at his age. The news we see and hear on television, on the radio, in the newspaper, and online is almost never good. It’s filled with stories of mayhem, death, war, and general unpleasantness and misery. And it’s nearly impossible to shield kids from it.
So in this season of hope and joy, in which, as “The Christmas Waltz” reminds us, “every song you hear seems to say ‘Merry Christmas,'” I started searching for some good news that I could report here. And I found a few things!
My daughter told me about a man whose dying wish was to perform a random act of kindness for a stranger. He didn’t have much money, so his family received some donations, went to a pizza parlor, and tipped the server five hundred dollars. The family’s act was so successful and heartwarming that they decided to continue to raise more money to perform other random acts of kindness for restaurant servers. If you’d like to read more, visit http://www.aaroncollins.org.
Here’s another one: when a traveler at the Tampa Airport had to step out of line because his credit card had been declined, he returned to the line to discover that a stranger had paid his baggage fee. The stranger’s only request? That the traveler pay it forward at some point. Read more at http://www.pifexperience.org.
And another (two, really): a nine-year-old boy’s bike was stolen from his school in Fresno, CA. It was the second time his bike had been stolen. When students from Fresno High School heard about the boy’s plight, they went from classroom to classroom and collected enough money to buy him a new bike. A group of high schoolers presented him with the bike at his school one day. I got chills reading the article. But wait! There’s more. The boy’s family will match the price of the bike and donate it to Off the Front, an organization that provides bikes for needy kids in Fresno. The organization can now get bikes, helmets, and locks for three other kids. See http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?id=9301992 and http://www.offthefront.org/.
Finally, a stranger made a busboy’s day at the Cavalier Diner in Charlottesville, VA. The boy saved up enough money this year to buy an iPad to help him with his homework. Unfortunately, the iPad was in a pile of cardboard boxes at the boy’s home; the iPad was accidentally thrown into the family’s firepit with the boxes and burned beyond repair. An employee of the diner was telling a group of people about the incident when a man overheard her talking. He asked several questions about the boy, paid his bill and left, then returned later with a gift card in the amount of an iPad. He didn’t want to be identified; he just wanted to make a difference. Find the story at http://www.nbc29.com/story/24106866/random-act-of-kindness-renews-holiday-spirit-at-cavalier-diner.
See? There’s a lot of good news out there…you just have to hunt for it. News outlets have better ratings when the news is bad, so not much good news makes headlines on the airwaves or in the papers or in cyberspace. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “pay it forward.” The website that I mentioned above, http://www.pifexperience.org, has some great ideas and stories about random acts of kindness and paying kindness forward to strangers in need of a smile, a meal, or a kind word. I urge you to visit the site and read some of the anecdotes. They’re inspiring.
So try performing an act of kindness for a stranger this holiday season. If you’ve been lucky enough to be the recipient of an act of kindness, pay it forward and tell me about it. I love to hear good news.
Until next week,