Nov 14, 2022 - Economy

Axios Finish Line: Kindness abounds

Illustration of heart shaped bubbles floating upward

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

This article originally appeared in Axios Finish Line, our nightly newsletter on life, leadership and wellness. Sign up here.

We're back with another installment in our series on spreading kindness.

  • Why it matters: We underestimate how big of a difference even the tiniest random acts of kindness can make in others lives.

Here are stories from Finish Line readers who spread or received kindness from strangers to inspire us all to pay it forward.

  • "I carry extra umbrellas in my car and when I see anyone during an unexpected rainstorm getting soaked I roll down my window and give them one. They are always surprised." —Bonnie S., Asheville, N.C.
  • "A few years ago I worked at a video rental store. I was the only person working Friday night, and there was a line of about 10 people at the register. When the last person in line finally got to the front, he said, 'Do you like Coke or Sprite?' and he bought me a soda from the store's fridge. ... It made such an impact on me that the person who had to wait the longest was so patient and kind towards me." —Becky M., Chicago, Ill.
  • "We live in a homeowners association, which was developed in 1986. ... Some folks came in early and are getting quite old. I am 84. My neighbor doesn't get around easily, so I put his trash out for him once a week. After the pickup, while putting his container back, I usually see two or three neighbors up and down the block doing the same for their neighbors." —Fred R., Tucson, Ariz.
  • "Some 30 years ago, I was working on recovery from a horrible depression. It was harder than anything I've ever done. One morning, it took everything I had to make a grocery run. As I dragged myself toward the store, a man looked at me and smiled, saying, 'Good morning.' I felt so much weight lifted off me. I could, for the first time in months, see a way out of my sadness." —Sherri W., McKinney, Texas
  • "I walked into my apartment building, reading Finish Line's acts of kindness. I looked up and saw two large Amazon boxes for a neighbor on my floor. Your stories influenced me to save my neighbor a trip downstairs — and to meet "smile to smile' for the first time." —Kelsey Z., London, U.K.
  • "I was walking in upper Manhattan with a 2-year-old on my shoulders. A man stopped me and pointed to my untied shoe. With hand gestures — he spoke Spanish and I didn't — he signaled that he would tie it for me. And he did." —Mike H., Simsbury, Conn.

The bottom line: Seemingly small acts of kindness make big splashes that stay with people years — or even decades — later.

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