I’m passing along a story from a recent graduate of Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, where I work. Alex Ashley and a group of his Radiation Therapy program classmates went out to dinner in April to celebrate after a big exam, and something marvelous and unexpected happened.
Here’s Alex’s tale. It restored my faith in humanity. I hope it does the same for yours.
It was the night before we all took off in every different direction to our newly assigned clinical rotations. Being poor college students, we were excited as we planned to treat ourselves to dinner at a high-end restaurant to celebrate another successful semester.
We had a wonderful time not only in each other’s company, but visiting with the waitress as well. As we finished dinner, we anticipated a delay in the arrival of our checks as we asked for them to be individualized; when the waitress came by and said there was something wrong with their machine and it would be a few minutes, we were not at all bothered.
A few minutes later she came back, this time with her manager.
The manager spoke to us and said, with tears welling up in her eyes, “I’m about to cry, but the man who just left paid for all of your dinners. He wanted us to stall the bill until he left. He wants you to know that your politeness, professionalism and respect does not go unnoticed. It gives him a lot of faith in your generation and he wants you to know it is appreciated.”
Without any opportunity for recognition, this man performed a selfless act of kindness that none of us will ever forget.
We sat there … in silence … with the biggest smiles on our faces. We were so appreciative to this man, who appeared to be traveling and dining alone. Whatever his reason, our hearts were touched. We were inspired, more than ever, to go out and spread kindness.
All night we spoke about how we could return the favor in the future. A lot of us wrote of our experience on Facebook and how we wanted to do more random acts of kindness because of the joy it brought us.
The amount of feedback from our friends and families, saying how touched they were from hearing the story, and how they felt inspired to go out and do a random act of kindness was really amazing. It felt like this random act of generosity sparked a kindness explosion.