It takes so little effort to be kind. I witnessed a father arguing with his son over the name of the local hardware store. It didn’t matter. We all knew what he meant. The father just had to be right. The kid wilted, afraid to say anything else. I gave him a smile, I knew exactly where you meant. Thanks, kiddo… He gave me a smile back. I love to smile. It comes naturally; maybe for some it takes a true effort. I’ve never understood the mentality of getting my way by being a bully or stomping on someone just because I could. Being a teacher, I could have taken two paths. One way is to encourage, compliment and nurture. Or I could belittle, criticize, and make it impossible to succeed. I had the power to do either. I chose kindness. I’ve been the new person at a job several times in my life. It doesn’t take long to figure out who the kind co-workers are. I gravitate towards them and thank them for their kindness. I find myself saying thank you or I’m sorry a lot. The quickest way to win an argument is to diffuse it. When someone is ridiculous, do you have the power to say I’m sorry?  It will shut them down pretty quickly. I have learned not to judge people by their looks. I’m as kind to one person as I am to the next. I guess teaching in a classroom full of diversity helped me overcome being judgmental. You can quickly assess the group and make judgments, but being forced to spend nine months together, it always surprised me who ended up being my favorite kids. I would show my sister pictures of the students. See this kid? Funny as heck. This kid? My favorite. This kid? Cute, but a total jerk… It takes so little effort to be kind. My experiences shopping, dining, traveling, working, etc.are much more pleasant because I choose for them to be that way. I engage the waitstaff. I ask their opinion. I treat them kindly. I cant remember the last time I had an unpleasant dining experience. Oh yes, I took my son for his first hamburger at a local restaurant after his stem cell transplant. Jake wanted a latte, which I thought was strange. Our waiter didn’t know how to make it, so the other waitress shouted the directions across the restaurant. Jake tried a sip and immediately asked me to taste it. It was bad. Our waiter never came back, and I didn’t want to embarrass him. So when I went to pay our ticket, I chose not to pay the $3.55 for the latte. I know this isn’t your fault, and I don’t want to embarrass our waiter, but the latte was undrinkable so I don’t want to pay for it. I had caught her off guard. She knew she didn’t have the authority to take it off the bill. She asked the waitress who had yelled the directions. She turned to me. “What was wrong with it?  I don’t think it was made correctly. “What was wrong with it?” she demanded again. I don’t know. It was bitter. Do you want to taste it? That shut her up. “Tell him,” as she pointed to the owner. Of course our waiter had witnessed it. “I told you I didn’t know how to make it,” as he and the waitress continued to fuss. I watched the hostess crumble as the owner barked at her to take it off the bill. I apologized to her again, but what I had witnessed was ridiculous. I hoped someone figured out how to make a latte after that, but I doubt they cared. I expected to be treated better at a restaurant I had frequented many times. I decided to take a break from that restaurant. When I finally returned with my friend, the waitress wouldn’t acknowledge me, but she was overly nice to my friend. Had the tables been turned, I would have fixed a latte for her, on the house, and delivered it with a smile on my face. To me, kindness comes naturally, but I guess others have to really make an effort…

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