In my culture, the wisdom for a growing child is to be noble and supportive when interacting with others in society, regardless of whether they are peers, families, or outsiders. An example that is often used is when an elderly person occupies a space or a bus with all seats filled. The younger person is required to give up his or her seat to make room for the elder. I have shown empathy, hospitality, and compassion to people of all backgrounds, regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, or any other cause. However, it is usually difficult to extend the same to a stranger who may be rude or condescending. While travelling to a nearby town to visit my aunt, I sat next to a boy in his late teenage years. Before boarding the bus, he had mistreated the ticketing agent who tried to help him find a suitable seat. He spent the rest of the time talking loudly on the phone. He would reply rudely to anyone who tried to tell him to lower his voice. I initiated a conversation on the bus but he was an unwilling participant and I kept quiet for the rest of the journey.
A few hours after alighting, I visited a restaurant where I found the boy with whom I had travelled. I noticed that he appeared distressed and quieter than I would have imagined based on his earlier behavior. I went and sat next to him and enquired if he was fine. He hardly wanted to talk but I chose to stay and find out if he needed help. I helped him to order for a meal and paid for it. After having our lunch, he opened up and told me that his mother had been sick and that he had received the news of her death a few hours after our journey. He had visited the town in search of his father, whom he had hardly known. His parents had been separated for the greater part of his life. He was stranded because his mother had spent most of her savings on treatment and after her death, he had no choice but to look for his father in a bid to re-establish a relationship. I offered to escort him to his father’s office, since he was a first-time visitor to the town.
Reasoning for Choosing the Specific Act
I witnessed the teenager, who had been a stranger, engaging in acts of rudeness with people around him regardless of their age or gender. The behavior had been against my core beliefs. Nevertheless, I offered to be kind and hospitable throughout our interaction because I had been taught to do so with everyone. Moreover, I had been in tough situations before in which I wished for someone to understand my frustration. Therefore, I thought it better to always assume that a person may act in unacceptable manners as a way to shut people out or as a protective mechanism against emotional attachments.
The Reaction of the Recipient
The teenager had been rude to me in the first instance of our interaction. Offering to pay for his lunch may have expressed my willingness to listen to him and offer assistance. This act may have encouraged him to open up to me and talk about the cause of his sadness. I helped him meet his father, who welcomed him. We exchanged contact information and have been friends since then.
My Experience with the Stranger
In extending an act of kindness to a stranger, I found ways in which I could help him deal with the loss of one of his parents and reconnect with the other. The knowledge that I had brought calmness to the boy was satisfactory emotionally. The act of assisting a stranger gave me a friend with whom I have been close long after the incident despite the nature of our first interaction. The importance of kindness is the psychological impact on the recipient. Their perception about people is changed from negativity towards optimism and positive interactions (Louvau 9).
It is the obligation of every individual to be virtuous and assistive to those around him or her. The reason for this is that different people may have problems that cause their hostility or lack of communication. Positive interaction helps a person who is going through bad situations to see a better side of humanity and have hope that their issues will be resolved. It may prevent a person with suicidal thoughts from proceeding with the act and may comfort one with the loss of a loved one. An act of kindness may be infectious, causing the person to adopt virtues of being friendly and open to interaction with others in the society. There are no negative consequences associated with it. Therefore, such acts should be encouraged within every society in order to develop better interpersonal relationships with people regardless of their relationships.
Louvau, Chaplain Charlie. Beyond Random Acts of Kindness. Xlibris Corporation, 2010.