Tell Me Something Good



In the midst of bad news about politicians run amok and world powers warring against each other and against the innocent and weak, there is a segment on the Bobby Bones morning radio show that makes me smile. And that’s saying a lot on a rainy Monday morning before the sun is fully awake. It’s called Tell Me Something Good, and it’s exactly what it sounds like … a brief story of someone doing a random act of kindness in a world that sometimes feels as if folks have forgotten how to do just that.

This morning’s story was about an 80-year-old woman who had visited 49 of the 50 states in our country and had resigned herself to never being able to see the last one. She was quoted as saying, “I figured I would just die without getting to check off the one thing on my bucket list — seeing the whole entire United States.” Rhode Island, apparently, was the only state line she’d never crossed.

The deejay went on to say that the woman’s next-door neighbor heard about the old woman’s wish and decided that a trip to Rhode Island was very doable. And so, the two of these ladies, who it should be noted were relative strangers, boarded a plane and made the trip. Along the way, airline and hotel staff treated the two ladies like queens — from limos waiting upon their arrival to special dinners at local restaurants. And they were, both of them, queens in their own right. The 80-year-old was a queen for loving our country enough that she built her entire bucket list around seeing all of it she possibly could. And her neighbor was just as royal for her selflessness and generosity.

“It’s such a small thing, relatively speaking,” she said, “to buy a couple of tickets and take a day or two off work … but for my sweet new friend, it meant the world. How lucky am I that I got to be part of a lifelong dream?”

How lucky are we that people like these two ladies exist?

The older I get, the more I find myself actively seeking out the good and the noble. And, contrary to popular opinion, there is so much good and noble out there to be found.

I read a story the other day online about an older gentleman who was in a supermarket line behind a young mother with her four-year-old daughter. The little girl stared at the man for a few minutes before blurting out, “You’re really old!”

The gentleman could have been annoyed or even offended, but he smiled at the girl and knelt down in front of her. Grinning at her, with wrinkles lining his entire face, he reached out his hand and said, “Yes, I am! My name is Henry.” He held out his hand to shake hers, and a friendship began. That was two years ago, and now Henry has dinner once a week with his new friend and her parents.

“This sweet little girl and her family saved my life,” Henry told a reporter. “My wife passed away the week before I met this child, and I just felt lost. I don’t feel lost anymore.”

“We’re the ones who are grateful,” the parents stated. “He taught our daughter, and us as well, that the world is still kind and good. He’s like part of our family now.”

The picture of the old man, his age-spotted hand grasping the child’s tiny little fingers, both of them grinning at the camera in the Winn Dixie express line turns me to mush.

And we’ve all seen the story about the accidental text sent by a woman who thought she was inviting her grandson to Thanksgiving dinner. The person on the other end of the conversation texted back, “Who’s this?”

“Your grandma,” she answered.

“You’re not my grandma, but can I come to Thanksgiving dinner anyway?”

“Of course you can,” was her response. “That’s what grandmas do — we feed everybody.”

That was six years ago, and now it’s a tradition. Every Thanksgiving, this young man who started out as a stranger and is now an honorary family member, comes for dinner. They post pictures every year, and it gets me every time … their faces, so different in color and age, both lit up with happy grins. One generous woman who went out on a limb and fed a stranger has become an idol of sorts — a grassroots leader for random acts of kindness.

I would pay to sit at that Thanksgiving dinner just one time and soak up all that sweetness.

Last night, when sleep eluded me, I watched a video of a man who crossed three lanes of traffic to rescue an abandoned kitten who had been dumped in the middle of a busy freeway. The kitten wasn’t much more than a tiny lump of black fur. The man darted between cars and came close to being hit more than once before he scooped up the kitten and took it home.

“Why would you risk your life for a kitten?” a news crew asked him.

“Why wouldn’t I?” he answered. “Just look at him. That’s a creature of God right there. And now I get to watch him grow up.”

The only comment the kitten had was a contented sigh and soft purr. And I cried like a little girl.

Sitting down to write this article, I googled “random acts of kindness.” There were over 100,000 links to stories and articles and blogs and videos. 100,000! I think I’m going to ask the tech guy at work if there is a way to block out everything else online but these kinds of websites. I’ll call it my “kindness search engine.” Nothing but feel-good stories about old people and little children and rescue dogs and adopted kittens and the people who love and help them. No politics or world news allowed.

And, next time I’m in the grocery store or just walking through the neighborhood, maybe I will get the chance to do someone an abundant act of kindness. Imagine if we all looked for just one opportunity like that — a revolution of sweetness.

That’s a bucket list item, isn’t it? To be as kind and good as possible for every day that I have left. May we all aspire to such generosity. And may we always have Kleenex handy for all those happy tears.


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