Dec 21, 2019

Unexpected Acts of Kindness

Something I like to do when I have paid for parking but am leaving a parking lot is give my dashboard ticket to someone just arriving. I like to imagine the person I gave the ticket to talking with someone afterwards, marvelling at this unexpected kindness. And I like the feeling this small act of generosity engenders in me. (This is not an entirely selfless act.)

If there is no one around, I usually put my ticket back into the ticket-dispensing machine in the hope that the next person might find it and realize its value before inserting their credit card or a handful of change. It's a small way of rebelling against greedy parking lot owners who ticket and/or tow cars whose time has expired.

This is how I riot on. (Subtle but effective, that's my kind of riot.) There are a thousand small things we can do as citizens in our daily interactions to remind ourselves and each other that goodness and kindness and generosity still exist in the world.

I don't know why society seems more divided and insular than ever right now. I don't know why people feel the need to insult and degrade each other online. We live in such a combative time that it is easy to forget that we really are all in this together.   

So I encourage you to adopt my parking lot practice, or find some other small ways to say to a stranger, "Hey, stranger, we are of different races and ages and genders and sexual orientations and religions and economic backgrounds, but we both still need to pay to park here [or whatever the case may be], so let's make the conscious decision to help each other out." Nobody loses, except maybe that parking lot mogul, but I am confident that he'll be okay. Riot on, and happy holidays.