Random acts of kindness are occasionally offered and usually written off as nice and sweet, but making little difference in the grand scheme of things.
However, I was with a group recently who were the recipients of a random act of kindness that made a huge difference in the lives of 14 people. Our church’s high school students spent last week in New York working in two different churches. Because of the size of our group our minister of students made the wise decision to travel in five groups and to move around the city in those groups as well. It was definitely the safest way to move groups that large in a city that big.
On Saturday my group was among the first to leave. We needed to work our way across the city through the subway and connect with a bus that would take us to LaGuardia. It sounded easy enough, and our subway pass was supposed to provide one transfer for the bus part of the journey. It would be a simple trip across the city. Right?
Well, not exactly. When we got to the subway station, we discovered that the train we were supposed to take was out of service for three days. None of us were experienced subway veterans, so we had to guess which route to take next and when to get off and connect with the bus, and we absolutely had to get to the airport in time to catch our plane.
We got off at a point on the line that was totally unfamiliar and, I might add, not a safe place to have a group of students. After asking several people, we determined where the bus would stop, while the clock continued to tick away.
Then, praise the Lord, a bus stopped and we asked if it was the right connection to the airport and, yes, we were in the right place! The first student stepped into the bus and tried to slip the subway pass into the device in the bus. The driver said that it was not the right pass and said we could not get on.
We quickly responded that we were going to miss our flight. He said the pass was not right, and we did not see any place to purchase a bus pass for everyone. We asked once more, knowing that the driver had every right to deny our entrance since we had the wrong ticket. He then turned and said, “OK. Get on, all of you.” We couldn’t get on that bus quick enough.
We made our flight on time, but could easily have been stranded back in a strange neighborhood. We thanked the bus driver several times, but his act of kindness allowed us to get back to Charlotte on time.
When we respond generously to people around us, we may never know if it really makes a difference. It could do more than just get a group of travelers home on time.