The Not So Random Act of Kindness

posing with a bum


Random Acts of Kindness are done anonymously. You remain unidentified and or you do not know the recipient. You will never get anything back from your good deed, no accolades, no credit or praise just the fulfilling feeling of having made the world a little brighter. Unless of course you post it to Facebook. Once you post your act of kindness to a social media site it becomes about you again.  The Rastafarian One Love vibe is lost, it’s no longer done with a Christian motive, it just becomes yet another “Look at me!” self-serving move. You might as well ask the bum you just fed for just a quick picture together. “Here, you hold up the chicken leg and smile…better you know duck-face? Ready…say ‘CHARITY!'”

The stories that you read in which a man gives a homeless person his shoes, or someone paid for someone else’s dinner are up-lifting; when the person giving the shoes doesn’t know he’s been seen, when the one writing the article was the recipient of this unexpected kindness. When you see someone post a Facebook status “OMG Ya’ll I feel so good right now! Just gave a homeless guy a bucket of Bojangles, he was all like “God Bless You” Seriously!” rather than being uplifting it makes you lose a little more faith in humanity. Instead you get the desire to slap the idiot upside his/her head.

This isn’t to say all acts of charity aren’t to be seen. When I stop and give a guy some money I want people to see; namely the children in the car with me that they know kindness, giving and charity. I want the car behind me to see, in hopes that they’re inspired to dig into the ashtray for a few bucks also. I want the person receiving my charity to see, love from another human and hope in a desperate situation. All the nobility seems to deflate from an act once you tell on yourself via Facebook. No one’s inspired to go give by your post. They’re all looking at their screens confirming suspicions they had that you were a self-centered ninny. The ones who are commenting “Good for you” “You are awesome” and so on are probably also self-centered ninnies.

It’s human nature to want to bask in the glory. Every December 25th I watch my children open and enjoy gifts that an imaginary over-eater gets the credit for. It’s hard not to say “Mommy did it! It was all me!” But I know part of the magic of Christmas for a child is the impossibility of it all, so I shut up. So should you, Hungry Hobo Hero, so should you.

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