I believe that when faced with difficult circumstances, it is the small gestures of kindness by others that go a long way. Seven weeks ago I broke my tibia, and I have been on crutches ever since. I know that really, my issues are trivial compared to others, but it is still a very frustrating process. Walking with crutches is a lot harder than I realized, and I never thought about the little things I wouldn’t be able to do, like open doors, or carry my own food in the dining hall. However, through this process, I have been able to recognize that simple small acts of kindness can mean a lot.
One night, I was coming back from a late final, and it was pouring. I just barely missed the bus, and the other one wasn’t going to be there for at least 20 minutes. Instead of waiting in the rain, I just decided to crutch back to my dorm. Needless to say, when I finally reached my destination, I was not in a good mood. I stopped at the convenience store in the commons for some iced tea before heading up to my room, and was struggling carrying the heavy bottles in one hand and crutching at the same time. A classmate from my high school who I had almost never spoken to saw me struggling and came up and took the bag from me without a word. He asked where I was going and carried the bag all the way to the elevator of my building for me, even though it was in the opposite direction of where he was going. Just that simple act, something that took him only a few minutes, completely turned my night around. Along the same lines, there have been countless acts of kindness shown to me. My roommate carries my food for dinner like it is second nature, and people are usually willing to go out of their way to hold doors open for me. Sometimes people even relinquish their seats on the bus when they see me get on. All of these small acts of kindness go a long way and have made my healing process that much easier.
These small acts of kindness can make an even bigger difference when they are all put together for one cause. The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance MaraTHON is an effort by Penn State students to raise money for pediatric cancer. Every single student involved in THON is a volunteer, participating only because they want to, out of kindness. These millions of acts of kindness that put THON together have the ability to make a difference in the life of a family, child, doctor, researcher, or anybody that has been touched by pediatric cancer. The kindness not only raises money to pay bills for families and fund research, but also raises awareness, and maybe most importantly, offers emotional support to the families and children affected by cancer. The small acts of kindness inspire hope. THON weekend, the smiles on the kids’ faces are often the biggest they’ve been in a long time, and often the kids describe THON as their favorite weekend of the year- even better than Christmas. The kids can’t wait to get to Penn State and see their “big brothers and sisters” or “peeps” or whatever they’ve decided their org should be called. These acts of kindness inspire hope and offer support, and in turn affect the lives of many.
Small acts of kindness, whether individually or in massive amounts, have the ability to help people dealing with difficult circumstances. Kindness can turn a night around, or it can turn a life around. Small acts of kindness go a long way; kindness matters.
P.S. is “crutching” a verb? I don’t know what else to say…