Despite the horrendous traffic, the teeming shopping masses, and the cash depletion, Christmas is still and always will be a season of cheers. Sure, waiting in line at the store counter can be trying and finding parking or a nice table at the favorite resto can frost even the sunniest Santa smile. Still, a general feeling of generosity and goodness seems to be palapable in the air. At least for a couple of weeks, people seem to be kinder and nicer. And not just to friends and family. It is so easy to be kind to people you love. It’s all part of the package. But being kind to strangers requires the fortitude to be truly empathetic with another’s situation. To be kind means to connect with another person. To reach out and make a difference at that moment the person needs it. To be kind to a strangers means throwing all caution to the wind and just letting yourself be. To be kind to strangers means to be human. Walking to the gym, I suddenly remembered how kind some strangers have been to me. It may be as simple as another tiangge shop keeper offering me an extra shopping bag to better carry my purchases from another store. Or something more dramatic such as another mountaineer helping me negotiate a steep trail.
So this Christmas, I am remembering strangers who have made a difference in my life through their random act of kindness. I shall remember them and continue to thank them by reciprocating that kindness to other strangers.
Here’s my Kind Strangers List:
1. Standing on the curb at Hollywood Blvd, I was craning my neck trying to read the LCD display on the bus to see where it was headed to. A black guy, walking towards me said, “that’s the bus heading to wilshire.”
2. Buying some candies at the famous Farmer’s Market at Fairfax, LA, I accidentally paid with a hundred dollar bill instead of a dollar. The shopkeeper, a middle-aged lady who turned out to be Pinoy, called to me as I was walking away and returned my money. She taught me a trick to keep from getting all the bills mixed up– “fold the hundred dollar bill and put in a corner of your wallet.” Plus she gave me free licorice to sample!
3. Someone from work called me and said that the manager of Caltex station at Pasong Tamo had called about my wallet. Apparently, it had fallen of my pocket as I got out of the car. I went back to the gas station. The manager was already off duty and had left my wallet with the staff.