Audio Version Available
When people talk about kindness, they tend to think big: Like well-known charity organisations or inspirational, life-changing events.
However, thanks to social media, little acts of kindness in everyday situations are starting to get noticed. It’s not to say we were less kind in the past, just that in modern culture, it’s easier to capture and share these moments of humanity through our Instagram stories or viral TikTok videos.
When an act of kindness happens, there are three groups of people who are impacted — let’s call it a triangle of kindness: The person performing the act, the person who receives it, and last but just as importantly, anyone who sees it. This is why kindness is contagious.
I recently decided to do a little social media experiment.
I took to my Instagram to find out if any of my (not so many!) followers have recently experienced little acts of kindness in their daily life. To be honest, I didn’t really expect much of a response as I believed that we don’t often get to see kindness happening around us.
I was wrong.
Some of my followers were kind enough to take the time to share with me their kindness stories, be it as a giver or receiver. I was shocked, then impressed when I read about their experiences: These unseen acts of kindness would never have been known had they not shared it.
Here are some of their responses and stories:
Kindness from an unexpected place
@irdinaduran, shared this anecdote about how some foreign workers organised a search party for her missing wallet:
“I lost my wallet once in my neighbourhood. was crying hysterically because of that which attracted the attention of a couple of migrant workers who were busy doing their work (they were doing construction work if I’m not mistaken).
“They immediately stopped, came right up to me and asked me what’s up and started searching high and low for it. even asked their colleagues who were sleeping to wake up and find it HAHAHA
“Couldn’t find it on the day itself and they came up to me the next day to ask if things were ok and i’ve found it.
“Fortunately my wallet was found a couple of days after and to express my gratitude to those workers I bought them a few cartons of boxed drinks for their kind gesture :)”
I especially liked this response because it reminded me that everyone is capable of being kind, no matter our background. Some of us often are too quick to judge people who are different, like migrant workers.
The instinctive response of these kind men is a heartwarming illustration of how help can come from the most unexpected places.
Standing up against racism
Another, @nvrrshimaa, shared how a gentleman helped her recover after being racially abused:
“I got cussed out by an eccentric chinese uncle for being malay/muslim, and a guy who witnessed it *ran* after me just to check if I was okay. He gave some words of encouragement and wished me a nice day wkwkwk”
Racism is never acceptable and we all must play a part in stopping it. There are many ways to combat racism, and this kind man showed a simple solution: to show immediate compassion for the person who has been abused.
Kindness on the road
@elhvncs shared an incident on the road when he spotted an elderly man crossing the road:
“I was waiting at a traffic light junction when I saw an elderly crossing the road. However, when I saw that the pedestrian light had turned red, I quickly stopped oncoming cars and safely guided the elderly to the other side.”
Helping a senior cross the road is almost the stereotypical example of a kind act. Yet, it is still very real. This simple gesture of kindness on the road may seem unnecessary, but it may actually help save lives. Or at the very least, give the elderly man a moment of happiness that a stranger would care for him!
A natural instinct
What do you do when you see someone drop something? Some would walk hurriedly by or even grumble under their breath if the incident delayed them or obstructed their way.
Not for @_syvd though, he shared how he helped an old woman pick up her belongings when she dropped her groceries.
When someone, a child for example, falls down or you see someone leave their belongings behind by accident, it should be our natural instinct to stop and help, or to at least ask if assistance was needed.
Sunshine On A Rainy Day
Doing deliveries can be exhausting, especially while battling unexpected weather. Fortunately, @newharry received a generous surprise after delivering an order in the rain.
A sudden downpour without an umbrella can get pretty annoying. Luckily for @izzsarah, a stranger was kind enough to offer to share their umbrella.
Unnoticed acts of kindness
These responses suggest that kindness is much more prevalent than I initially thought.
Just because we don’t hear about it does not mean it is not happening.
Take my Instagram poll as an example; these different responses are a result of me asking just a small group of people. What about the possible unnoticed acts of kindness from all over the world?
Of course, the point of being kind isn’t to show or tell other people how kind we are. Acts of kindness go unnoticed all the time and that is very much okay.
But remember the third group of people in the kindness triangle? Perhaps hearing about these acts of kindness might inspire others to do likewise. That alone makes it worthwhile to share these stories.
Other stories you might like
Similarly, how many times have you done something for someone only to have them not notice or say anything? You feel discouraged that they didn’t say anything and you start questioning if you should have made the effort at all, if it apparently wasn’t a big deal to this person.
For those that have these thoughts, remember this quote from John Lennon:
“When you do something noble and beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.”
When we are kind and do “noble and beautiful” things, even if people do not notice, it doesn’t diminish the value of the act.
Little acts of kindness
With the holiday season here, here are some little acts of kindness that you can do:
- Share some food with your neighbours. Knock on their doors and chat a little. When was the last time you interacted with each other aside from a nod or a greeting at the lift lobby?
- Buy an extra set of food for your delivery rider. It’s the festive season and many of us are calling for food deliveries. Remember those who are working to bring cheer to your families.
- Leave a kind note behind on the table after eating out with your family or friends. Just a little encouragement can brighten someone’s day instantly. And remember to clear your tray!
- Give drinks to those working under the hot sun. Not everyone gets to spend their holidays like they want to.
These are only a few suggestions. And even if your action might go unnoticed, know that you have definitely created a positive impact in another person’s life.
But, if you want to share a little light of kindness, you can give us a shoutout at #BeGreaterSG. Better yet, you could also write to us and have your story featured on The Pride!