I have always had romantic notions about random acts of kindness. I'd like to incorporate more of them into my life but it's just not American. We aren't inclined to walk up to strangers and pay them a compliment. It's not our style. We're more of a suspicious, avert your eyes kind of people. Sure, this might be a generalization but I cannot remember the last time a stranger said something kind to me just for the sake of kindness.
I was pumping gas this morning when a white pick-up truck pulled into the pump next to mine. The driver was wearing a military uniform and looked to be in his seventies. I assumed he was on his way to some type of Veterans Day event. I thought to myself, "How hard would it be to walk up to the guy and just thank him for serving our country and wish him a happy Veteran's Day?" Turns out, it was incredibly hard. I ran through every scenario in my neurotic skull: What if he's a serial killer? What if he's a Vietnam vet and goes into some sort of violent flashback when I remind him of his service (yes, I've seen a few too many war movies)? What if he's bitter about his service? Then again, he was wearing the uniform. I decided that his most likely response to my kindness would be appreciation and that I owed it to him and all the veterans out there to utter some words of gratitude. What did I have to lose?
After I finished pumping gas, I walked over to his pump and told him that I noticed his uniform and wanted to thank him for his service to our country. He smiled proudly and thanked me. I wished him a happy Veteran's Day and walked back to my van. I survived unscathed, feeling high from gratitude. It was fabulous. I'm still riding this wave of kindness. I hope it follows me (and him) for several more hours. Have you thanked a Vet today?