Pay attention to random acts of kindness

    Time and time again, I’ve heard reference that being thankful results in happiness. Noticing random acts of kindness ranks high in my book of feel-good happenings.
    Some people face challenging times of turmoil, one after another. It makes you wonder, “Why them?” Or “Why me?”
    It’s the person who focuses on something they appreciate who sparks hope for a thankful smile despite a series of downers. A poor-me philosophy never helps unless sympathy is the main objective.
    I’ve noticed recently the refreshing awe when observing random acts of kindness.
    Upon landing in New York City on an amazing memory-making trip, I was taken aback when our grandson, Austin, shook the pilot’s hand and thanked him as we left the plane. The teenage gestures continued as Austin opened doors for me, made coffee in the morning, put his phone aside to allow personal conversation and so naturally offered random acts of kindness.
    On another trip, I was excited to start a CD book series as an entertaining way to pass the time. I had a brand new vehicle and was frustrated with myself that I couldn’t find the CD player. Turns out there’s a good reason. There isn’t one. Evidently that’s common now.
    Determined to follow through with my story time, I stopped in the next town with the hopes of finding a portable CD player. Without much time to spare, I went to the electronics department and expressed my need. The helpful employee took me to a little flat player. Great. As I walked away, he asked if my car had auxiliary input.
    Auxiliary? That must be what that AUX stood for. The kind young man pulled a cord from the shelf which would connect the player to the vehicle sound system. Evidently my reaction gave him reason to sense my hesitancy.
    Here it comes. The random act of kindness. He said it was time for his lunch so he’d clock out to hook up the CD player for me. Seriously? Sure enough. While I paid, he clocked out and accompanied me to the parking lot. He did some searching to find the adapter inside the center console beside me. Would I have found it? Doesn’t matter. Now I know. CD #1 was in play mode and the eight-hour story began. Sean was amazing.
    Then take the time when my stress level was peaking. The address I entered in my GPS was one number off which took us on a wild-goose chase. I pulled off the side of the road just in time for the front wheels to drop into a ravine. It was dark. I was beside myself. Suddenly an angel appeared by the name of Kyle.
    Although we have roadside emergency service, that can turn into hours of waiting. Traffic was whizzing by and I had no idea how to explain where I was. Kyle kindly stopped and said he had a rope.
    In no time, there he was under the vehicle with no hesitation to do what he had to do. More like what he chose to do. He commented that newer vehicles don’t have as many hooks but he found one. Sure enough, he pulled us right out. I was beyond ecstatic for yet another random act of kindness.
    In an attempt to give Kyle money, he refused and said he hoped someone would help his mom or sister in the same circumstances. Although I respected that, I noticed a young family patiently waiting in his pickup and left some cash on his seat while he unhooked the rope.
    On the same trip, Mom and I attended a business open house where lack of parking made valet assistance essential. The walkway had a slight slant. I walked around the car to watch a young man put out his arm for Mom and walked her to the door. A random act of kindness at its finest.
    It doesn’t stop there. Shortly thereafter, I attended a community event where I didn’t expect to know anyone. I was pleasantly surprised to find I did know people upon arriving and knew even more upon leaving. A random act of kindness I especially appreciated involved Ethan, an inspiring junior high student who was among several school volunteers who served the banquet.
    Although all the students were impressive, his direct eye contact, extra hustle, drive to please and very natural “Yes Ma’am,” “You’re welcome, Ma’am,” touched me. It reassured my belief in the results of a good ol’ rural Nebraska home and school influence when random acts of kindness come naturally.
    It doesn’t take a Thanksgiving holiday to count our blessings. Stop. Pay attention. Take note of the valuable random acts of kindness which come your way. Even when life delivers some bad apples, notice the juicy crisp one that awaits you if you just pay attention.
    If by chance you don’t find a random act of kindness coming your way, make a point to perform one yourself. Giving can spark the happiness button even more than receiving.

LORI PANKONIN is co-publisher of Johnson Publications newspapers in Imperial, Wauneta and Grant, and part-owner of the Holyoke Enterprise in Holyoke, Colo. E-mail:

The Imperial Republican

308-882-4453 (Phone)

308-882-5167 (Fax)

622 Broadway St

PO Box 727

Imperial, NE 69033