• Melissa Miller

Small acts of kindness

I have made it a mission of mine to do small things to make people happy. Not go overboard in my kindness. Not live-stream it on Facebook and have people applaud me and say how wonderful I am. I try not to talk about what I do for my silly kindnesses. But, sometimes I like to show people how easy it is to make a person smile.

Right out of high school I worked at a family-friendly location on the Las Vegas Strip. The place was always packed, and many days it was hard to leave the store due to the crowding. I saw so many mothers who looked drained. People walking up and down The Strip in the unbearable summers Vegas receives. While these families stood in lines to take pictures, or check out their findings, I would walk up and down the rows with a smile on my face. I would look for the most tired looking woman I could find. Disheveled, makeup running from sweat, wrinkled shirt... Someone who got dressed up for their vacation, but walking for miles ruined their style. Nonchalantly I, a teen, would walk up to these people and say something quick like, 'I love your top!', 'Your hair looks amazing.', 'I love your glasses.' So on and so forth. I wouldn't stay around to chat; just continued my walk. When I'd walk by them later on that day, I noticed something amazing. These people stood up taller. These mothers had a different smile on their face. Some had adjusted their shirts, swiped at their hair... But they all had the look of confidence. I made sure I didn't compliment more than one person near another, to not seem fake. Some young girl walking up to a stranger just to compliment them when they feel like crap just changed their whole outlook. I know when I get a random compliment I think about it for days... Sometimes, I think about it the next time I wear that outfit! I want others to feel that nice!

One night I walked into a grocery store around Christmastime. I only had a dollar in cash and wanted to give it to the Salvation Army man, ringing his bell. When I got to the front of the store from the edge of the parking lot, the man was no longer there. No trace of him, or his bell. I looked at my dollar. 'This dollar is marked for giving.' I had to donate it-- somehow. I walked around the store thinking about what to do with it, when I stopped in the seasonal isle. I was looking at all the Christmas fares when I picked up a mug with Santa's face on it. I smiled and lost myself for just a second. I put the dollar in the mug. Why? No one other than someone buying it, or a kid restocking shelves, would see it. I figured someone would pick it up deciding whether or not to buy it, and see the dollar, somehow telling them to buy the mug. Or a young man would clean and restock a shelf and see a secret dollar peaking out at him. 'What?! How did that get here?!' Knowing someone put it in there, just to surprise someone.

Just the other day, I went to a big box store and parked very far away from the door. I saw a kid pushing carts to and from the store. I gathered up two carts and rolled them to the little home-base other carts waited for the kid to attend to. Then I noticed just how many carts were around. Being a little over 1,000 steps away from my daily step goal, I gathered all the carts from the far edge of the parking lot and brought them back to the queue. The kid walked by confused. 'Figured I'd give you a head start!', and walked away. When I got in my car he was still looking at me, dumbfounded. Do people not usually do that? Well, I never did before... So, I guess not.

You don't always have to buy someone's lunch to 'pay-it-forward'. It is so easy to compliment someone, or tell someone to have a nice day. Sometimes, just showing a little bit of kindness can brighten someones day. I know I have had days where all I needed was someone to smile at me and remind me there are still good people in the world. So, when I can't find the nice people, I try to be the nice person... Or 'people'. I will make up for more than one angry face in the world. If we all just said one nice thing to someone else, or did something sweet for a stranger, this world could be a happier place.

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