I was glad to see Patch’s “Tell Us” posting which invites readers to talk about any acts of kindness they’ve committed in response to the mass shootings at Sandy Hook. I’ve been following the 26 Acts of Kindness viral movement since the week before Christmas, and have been thinking about blogging about it.
For a long time now, I’ve always thought that there should be a happy channel or website. Maybe there is somewhere, and I just haven’t found it. I’m talking all happy news, all the time -- stories that will put a smile on your face. Like the Texas police officer who slipped a guy a $100 bill along with a ticket. Or the woman who went to great lengths to help another dog owner get her pooch back after he was stolen on the streets of New York. And let’s not forget about that family of ducks crossing the highway. (C’mon. Who doesn’t feel like cheering “Yay! They made it!” after watching that video.)
So I figure this 26 Acts thing is my happy channel. Count me in.
A few days before Christmas I was heading into work on the 8:11 train out of Northport. I was reading about all the acts people were committing and thinking about ones I could do myself. I was really impressed with one woman who was really throwing herself into it: volunteering to wrap presents, handing out candy to strangers, organizing a letter-writing campaign to soldiers. Man, she really had her act together.
I was sitting there looking out the window and daydreaming about organizing a blood drive (full disclosure: I’ve never even given blood) when I became aware of the woman sitting next to me. The conductor was informing her that the ticket she had bought couldn’t be used on the train. It was a subway pass, not an LIRR ticket.
The conductor was very nice about it. She didn’t charge the woman anything but told her that she would have to fill out a form to get her money back. The woman, who spoke with an accent, said she wouldn’t worry about it.
It vaguely occurred to me at that point that I needed a new Metro card. Those who know me might be surprised to hear this, but I’m actually rather shy. Maybe that’s why it took me a minute or so to turn and offer to buy the card from her.
If I hadn’t come out of my little world, I never would have found out that her name was Maria. She had just moved to New York from Jersey and wasn’t familiar with the ticket vending machines. She was going into the city to meet up with a friend from Argentina.
Long story short, I bought the ticket from her and we had a nice chat. When we got to Penn Station, I showed her which stairway to take to get to 8th Avenue. And later, when I went back to daydreaming about what great acts of kindness to commit, it occurred to me that the purchase of a Metro card from a stranger counts. And though I don’t like to admit this, it probably took the whole 26 Acts thing to remind me to take the time to do it.
So for Maria D., wherever you are on Long Island, I hope you had a great time in the city with your friend from Argentina. And thanks.