Like the rest of the country (and no doubt people throughout the world) this week I have been reading about the story of Luke Cameron. Mr Cameron (@lopwert on Twitter) is the young man who, throughout the year of 2014, has been doing a good deed every day – and blogging about it. His 365-day good deed challenge has had the nation chin-wagging and reflecting on their own levels of good deed-ness. It’s certainly made me question how much better I’d be perceived if I were to do a little good deed each day, no matter how small, to please someone else. I’m by no means a cruel or mean person, but I think going that extra mile and pushing myself to be nicer to a stranger, to tip a little more generously (or at all) or to help someone out if they’re struggling for change is just the smallest extra effort and could benefit not only them and their day but also mine.
Today I did a good deed. A little good deed, but a good deed none the less and it made me feel a whole lot better. I woke up this morning feeling miserable; headache, bad tummy and a unpleasant bout of the shivers. After several hours of bed-bound-brutality I decided to head to my local supermarket to get some fresh air and some sort of anything to fill my empty belly. Approaching the shop I realised I had no £1 coin for the supermarket trolley that I required (who ever does?). Worrying, I approached the store preparing my weak limbs for a heavy basket job only to have someone give me their trolley with their coin still inside. A kindness thrust onto me and very much appreciated – a small kindness that some might call trivial but it meant that my poorly soul could shop in comfort. I thanked them with a huge smile. I did my shopping and started loading onto the conveyor belt at the cash desk. There were two customers with very little shopping standing behind me in the queue as I unloaded, and still warmed by the kindness I had received I remembered the phrase “pay it forward”, and let both of them cut in front of me. Both of them were taken aback and both smiled at me and thanked me as they checked out quicker than they’d planned. They were visibly grateful and I was visibly humble; although inwardly I was warmed and proud. I paid for my shopping, wished the cashier a pleasant evening and left with my trolley of treats that I now felt I actually deserved rather than just using my man-flu as an excuse to buy myself something sweet. I put my backpack on, prepared myself for home, and gave my trolley to someone else; £1 coin still inside. They smiled, and thanked me, and so I hope the chain continues.
This niceness, however little, cost me nothing. No money spent, no dignity crushed and no morals swept aside – yet they got something out of it, and so did I.
So “I put it to you” (as an old drama tutor of mine regularly said), next time you are in a position to do something nice for somebody – do it. Do what Luke Cameron has been doing all year – do it every day if you can! Smile at a cashier and ask them how their day is going and make a momentary friend. Take a selfie with a homeless man and give him a couple of quid for a coffee. Call your Grandma and have a chat about her and her cat. You’ll feel better, they’ll feel better, and everyone will sing – well, perhaps not the latter; perhaps that’s only in my head.
Pay it forward y’all! (And check out Luke Cameron’s 365 Day Good Deed Diary here!)