Whit’s End: Celebrate kindness | PostIndependent.com

Whit’s End: Celebrate kindness

Carla Jean Whitley
cj@postindependent.com
Carbondale artist Sarah Uhl painted a series of Random Acts of Kindness signs for a February exhibit at Bonfire Coffee. Learn more about Uhl's work at sarahuhl.com.
Sarah Uhl

If you stopped by Carbondale’s Bonfire Coffee during February, you likely noticed Sarah Uhl’s “Random Act of Kindness” paintings. The collection of 40 suggestions was accompanied by butcher paper, on which the public could add more ways to show kindness.

Similarly, the Roaring Fork Swap Facebook group often serves as an outlet for individuals to share specific kindnesses they’ve received. Those posts float to the top of the group, which can otherwise become a place to vent about business disappointments and infrastructure frustrations. People are quick to join the celebration when a person buys another’s groceries, or someone stops in a parking lot to help an obviously harried mother.

These stories brighten my day (and clearly, I’m not alone in that). Last week, however, it was my turn to experience this kindness firsthand.

My phone’s voicemail light was flashing when I arrived in the office last Thursday morning. The message was from Hector, a man who said he’d found a credit card on the sidewalk in front of May Palace. He Googled the name on the card and found my phone number.

I didn’t even realize I’d lost a card.

I dug through my purse as I dialed his number. Sure enough, one of my cards was missing, the one I (foolishly?) keep in the pocket of my purse. I must have dropped it while digging for my phone or lipstick. I’d left work the night before — a half hour before Hector’s call — and walked to meet a friend for french fries downtown.

When I described the card, Hector confirmed it was what he held. He was at work, he said, but would drive through Glenwood afterward. Hours later, he stopped by my office with my credit card in hand. If he hadn’t been able to find me, he said, he intended to cut it up so no one could use it.

In some ways, this is a simple thing. Hector took the time to treat a stranger with kindness. (Thank goodness my information is all over the internet.) I would hope anyone would do the same.

But it’s also a significant thing. These seemingly random acts of kindness can have ripple effects. We lift one another up and care for each other. When you’re kind to me, I have more emotional capacity to be kind to someone else.

This is the world at its best. Thank you, Hector, and Sarah, and humanity, for sharing your kindness.

Carla Jean Whitley is an unflagging optimist who believes we’re better together. Reach her at cj@postindependent.com.