We are halfway through the semester, so if you’ve made it this far without dropping classes then give yourself a mental pat on the back for doing what everyone in your life knew you could do. This week I want to take the time to tell you about how much of an impact doing little courtesies can have on another individual’s life. Many people don’t realize how much of an impact they can make from small actions such as, holding the door open or being mindful and respectful in certain establishments e.g., the library, a restaurant, etc. Specifically, I unknowingly did a kind act that I originally started because of spite. Come to find out that what I did for someone was helping them when they needed it most. This made me think deeper about what might actually be going on behind the scenes, and to not judge things for what they seem to be.
It all started when I opened the door to leave my girlfriend’s apartment and found, sitting in front of me, a bag of trash. I shook my head and thought to myself, who could be this lazy? Granted it is a decent walk to the garbage bins, and it was cold out, but still. So, I took the bag of trash to the bin because I did not want to give the appearance that the apartment complex was “trashy”. In the next several weeks, I would find myself opening the door to leave my girlfriend’s house and having to take yet again another trash bag to the bin. I did not engage in banter with the homeowner, but instead obediently continued to take their trash out. After a few weeks it began to become sort of a routine. Instead of getting angry about it, I grew suspicious that perhaps there was another reason at play other than laziness.
One day my girlfriend calls me and says that a note had been posted on the apartment door that had been leaving out their bags of trash. The note said, “To whoever is taking out my trash for me, thank you very much.” I kindly wrote on the note that it was not a big deal, and that the little things one does daily, can have a big impact on others. A day later, I received a card that had been pinned to my girlfriend’s door via a magnet. I anxiously opened the letter to find a sweet thank you card from Juanita, the elderly postal service worker from across the hall. She gave me a twenty-five-dollar visa gift card as a token of how much value she put on me helping her out. You see, I came to find out from her letter that she was not acting out of pure laziness, but instead she was sick. She had caught a serious case of bronchitis and was unable to walk all the way to the trash can. Boy was I wrong about my initial conclusion: laziness.
The experience has reminded me of a lot of things. For one, sometimes in life you need to be humbled time again; meaning, that for me to jump to the conclusion that the trash bags were the effect of laziness—was very ignorant. Instead, it has taught me to not jump to conclusions and do good things just because they are good. It also taught me to think about my actions and how they can positively and negatively impact the lives of others. I like to think doing this very small act enabled many positive thoughts in Juanita. She knew that there was still good in the world, even among all the hate and disgust that we see on the news daily and in everyday life.
Thanks for listening SFCC,
Written by Robert Johnson.
About the Author
Hi, I’m Robert! I am a sophomore at SFCC where I have been working the past two semesters as one of Student Success and Retention’s Work-Study Students. I am a pre-engineering student here at SFCC, and I plan to transfer to Missouri Science and Technology in the fall of 2021 in pursuit of my bachelor’s degree in Nuclear Engineering. I look forward to sharing with you some of the topics that I think are relevant to student success and community involvement.
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