Do A Little Act Of Kindness

Some months back I was returning late from the office. By late I mean some time around 10 pm. Ahead of me as I took a walk down to my was this woman, having a baby on back, carrying loads on her hand and another on her head. From afar I could tell that the woman is tired. She walked delicately so that the load on her head won’t fall. She moved slowly so that what she was carrying on her hand won’t fall. I will later realize that what was carrying on her hand was a cake due to be used for a wedding the following day.

Where could she be coming from this late-night I wondered and why can’t she get help with the loads. You don’t need anyone to tell you that the load was too much for her. It was an obvious glare.

It’s the 1970s. A 30-something man makes his way across the Golden Gate Bridge. He’s passed by pedestrians and cyclists, and steps around tourists taking pictures of Alcatraz, Angel Island, and the channel of water below that runs between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. He gazes up at the reddish-orange towers soaring above and then climbs over the bridge’s four-foot safety railing. He steps out onto a 32-inch wide beam known as “the chord,” pauses, takes one last long look out at the bay, and then jumps. His body plummets 220 feet and violently hits the water at 75 mph. The impact breaks his ribs, snaps his vertebrae, and pulverizes his internal organs and brain. The Coast Guard soon arrives to recover his limp, lifeless body.

When the medical examiner later located and searched the jumper’s sparse apartment, he found a note the man had written and left on his bureau. 

It read: “I’m going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.” The story was recounted here

As I read this story today realizing the eventual passing of this man, I remember again the story of the woman ladened with all sorts of things on my way back home. As I watched her from afar I doubled up my speed to relieve her of some of the loads. Upon meeting her I greeted and offered to help. Without hesitation, she handed me the cake in her hand. You can tell her hands must have been aching but what can she do. We spent the remaining minutes of walking together discussing why she was late and how she was delayed by circumstances beyond her. She felt relieved and that gave me more joy than any act of kindness I’ve ever done. I bet she’s probably remembering the encounter now as well.

I got to her estate gate, handed over the cake and bade farewell. I don’t know what she looks like. I’m sure she doesn’t know what I look like as well but we both departed better off.

Many times what it requires to show kindness doesn’t have to take so much. Many times, it only requires giving a helping hand like I did to this woman and other times all it requires is for you to smile back at someone and that will save their life. Unfortunately, the man in my story didn’t get anyone to smile at him and that cost his life.

"Many times what it requires to show kindness doesn’t have to take so much. Many times, it only requires giving a helping hand like I did to this woman and other times all it requires is for you to smile back at someone…" Click To Tweet

A lot of us think of changing the world in ways that we most likely would end up not being able to do. A lot of hope to end world poverty or take all homeless kids out of the street. Those are noble aspirations, no doubt. However, just a little act of kindness, a little good, a little, a little checkup on an old friend, a little thank you and a little “you matter” comment can restore a soul, save a life and bring hope again.

What little act of kindness will you do today? Or will you walk by that woman carrying that much load without offering to relieve her? Or will you look that man in the eye with a frowny face and allow him to go on and commit that suicide?

Act of kindness doesn’t have to be strangers alone. Your girlfriend, when was the last time she was happy she had you? When was the last time you called your mama or papa to thank them (not give them money) for bringing you into the world? Your friends, are they proud to have you as a friend or all you do collect and collect from them and not a single time have you said: “take this N500 airtime, I just appreciate you”.

Do a little act of kindness today.

An old hymn “Have I Done Any Good?” has this following lyrics that pricks my heart:

1. Have I helped anyone in need? 

Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad? 

If not, I have failed indeed. 

Has anyone’s burden been lighter today Because I was willing to share? 

Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way? 

When they needed my help was I there? 

2. There are chances for work all around just now,

Opportunities right in our way. 

Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”

But go and do something today.

‘Tis noble of man to work and to give; Love’s labour has merit alone. 

Only he who does something helps others to live.

To God, each good work will be known. 


Then wake up and do something more

Than dream of your mansion above. 

Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure, 

A blessing of duty and love.

Have I Done Any Good?