Monday, June 28, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness

The Coroner's Report has been around for some time now and through the havoc of the past couple of years, I've fallen off of a pattern.

Time to change that.

In 2009, I did a series of blog posts titled "Moving Polaroids" and they all seemed to hit a nerve with people in a good way. Each post was based on a childhood memory.

I've decided to bring those back as a weekly installment. So from now on, each Thursday, there'll be a new Moving Polaroids blog. I invite each of you to share as you will. Not all childhood memories are good. Hell, a large portion of my readers had some fairly rough times as kids. You'll be reading good and bad from me because I know you wouldn't expect any less.

On Mondays, I'll be posting blogs designed to ignite discussion. You tune into see what I'll be writing about, and believe me when I say I'm just as interested to hear your thoughts and opinions. That's the situation of writers and readers; we have a symbiotic relationship and I'm perfectly happy with that.

Coming up on Thursday - the first installment of the ongoing Moving Polaroids.

•••

In the past, I've asked what's the worst thing you've ever seen. The responses varied widely, and I have to say it's a miracle most of you aren't in therapy or in a tower with a rifle by now. Either way, I appreciate the responses.

Today I'm asking from the different perspective. Let's put a positive light on things. In your entire life, what's the biggest act of kindness you've ever witness personally? Some selfless act done for the sole reason of making someone else smile.

I'll tell you mine.

My crew and I were in Florida because John, one of my brothers, was getting married to Becky. Granted, you need to understand, he's not a blood brother. I have three best friends I've know for over twenty years. They're brothers in all ways. I'd lay down in traffic for them, take a bullet, hide the body... you know what I mean. Their names are John, Doug, and Tim. They are all geniuses, retards, rock stars, and morons in their own right.

One of the things I think that has kept us friends this entire time is that we all have our own blends of sarcasm. We are loyal to each other to the letter. We have no problems throwing down if need be, but we all have big hearts - though we reveal it on our own terms.

So, we're all in Florida, having a grand time of things. We ended up going to Universal Studios to hang out and see the evening parade.

To say it was crowded would be an understatement. Everyone gathered there for the parade. The music was jamming, the parade floats started coming by and the crowd was cheering and clapping.

When they started throwing out beads, children ran to the edge of the line to catch them. People were reach and grabbing like it was a bouquet at a redneck wedding.

In these moments, I tend to pause and take a look around at my boys. I watch their faces, their expressions. I take notice of the things going on around us all. I caught Doug's line of sight and noticed him watching an older woman in a wheelchair near the back of the crowd. She had someone behind her wheelchair, helping her. She was smiling a little at the madness of the crowd and I wondered, briefly, what she was thinking about all this.

Doug worked his position toward the front of the crowd a bit. Some other float came by and tossed out a handful of beads. I saw Doug jump to catch one (that's saying a lot, you see, as he's roughly the same height as a yard gnome). Then I saw him fight his way back through the crowd.

He leaned down toward the old woman and she looked up at him. Then I saw him place the bead necklace around her neck. She smiled wide as if they really were jewels he'd given her.

She thanked him, her words lost among the noise of the crowd, and Doug smiled to himself and joined us again. I caught his gaze and gave him a nod. He returned it with that "Yeah, I know I'm the shit." expression that only he can generate properly.

We left not too long after that but the memory has stayed with me for years. I hope it stayed with the old woman too.

I wondered about her more. I'd watched her expression change. I wondered if she was thinking of her life, of another time when she was younger and a love of her life had done something sweet and kind and selfless. Had he made her smile like that?

I hope so. I think so.

I know so.

•••

So, dear readers. Tell me yours. What's the act of kindness that stays with you?


•••
Currently reading: A Boy's Life by Robert McCammon. I've read McCammon before and enjoyed everything, but somehow this book never made it into my hands. It's one of the best things I've ever read and it fills me with inspiration to achieve something so beautiful.

Currently listening to: My usual mish-mash. The Dead Weather (kind of an edgier Black Keys), some Patrick Watson (I heard a track called Tracey's Waters on a skateboarding video and fell in love with it). The new Eminem release Recovery, which I am digging the hell out of.

Currently watching: Saw Splice and enjoyed it. Still thinking about the dangers of cloning and screwing around with DNA.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The past 10 years or so my husband and send out care packages, mostly cookies and mostly in the fall and winter months.
I quite often get thank you emails but last year I received the cutest little thank you card.It was signed by several poeple. I cant tell you how much that meant to me.It's the first one we ever got.That card still sits on my piano.

12:59 PM  
Blogger ariell said...

I have a friend I've known since I was two or three years old, and she's been going through a hard time lately,so she's been pretty moody. I was having a big sleepover at her house for two days. She has a little sister who really gets on my friends nerves, so the first morning we woke up, and her little sister was standing there with a towel over one arm pretending to be a waitress. She asked me what I wanted to eat first with a little smile. Then, she turned to my friend who was still asleep, poked her and asked her what she wanted when she opened her eyes. She got very angry and yelled at her sister, making her run off crying. We made our own breakfast.

The next day we both woke up at around the same time, and saw her sister sitting there. She asked us what we wanted for breakfast that fine morning.Then she skipped off, and right before she turned into the kitchen, she turned and winked at me.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous graveyardwalker said...

I'm not surprised at all that Doug would do such a thing - I admit it.

8:22 PM  
Blogger Skip Novak said...

Hey Bob, I have had little time at home to access my computer so you will have to forgive me for not getting to you sooner on this subject. But, the time away from the plastic and metal communications system that is currently sitting on my lap and taking over my world has given me ample time to ponder your question.

I have seen a lot of examples that could be considered "Acts of Random Kindness", through my Church, through my work, even on vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina but I had to dismiss them all for an act of kindness that I still to this day have troubles wrapping all of my mental facilities around.

It was an act of Grace. You know what Grace is, don't you? Sure you do. It is when you DON'T GET WHAT YOUR DESERVE! Especially when you deserve the worst life has to offer. I got to observe this up close and personal.

Here is what happened;

A buddy of mine came home from work early one day, he worked midnights for the Sheriffs department in the City Jail, he got sick and his Lieutenant sent him home. I drove him to his house since we both lived in the same building and walked him up to his apartment.

You see where this is going?

Two armed men, one a Deputy the other a Cop walk into what is supposed to be an empty apartment... Yeah you see it don't you...

His door was kicked in, so we drew our service weapons and as we started to sweep the apartment we found a strung out, drug addicted scumbag standing in the living room with a television in his hands.

The look on the dipshits face was priceless, it said "Wha??? Fuck?? Why you here?" Then he promptly dropped the TV which shattered and scarred the shit out of me. I almost shot him.

Bob, my Sheriff buddy, said "Stand down Skip." I did. Then he looked at the crackhead and said "Hi Bro, what brings you here?"

Seriously, it was Bob's brother. Turns out the guy had been in and out of rehab for 5 years, stolen everything from his parents house for drugs, lost his wife and kids to drugs and had even been in jail a dozen times for petty crime. He was a lost cause. A hard case.

But Bob just sat down with him and talked it out. Didn't have him arrested, didn't yell at him, didn't turn his back on him. Instead, he forgave him. Cleaned him up and talked to him all night.

Bob called in sick for a week while keeping his brother locked in the spare bedroom and detoxing him. Two months sober and the guy fell off the wagon and was back on the streets feeding his beast.

I asked Bob once why he helped him and all he said was "It could have been me. It could have been you. You can't keep turning your back on the ones you love no matter what they do. He has lost everything and when he is ready I will be the only one he has to help him out. We as humans have to help each other, if not we are no better than the beasts in the wilderness."

He then told me about what "Grace" meant to him and I have adopted that philosophy into my own life. I try to not give into the human side of vengeance and instead I try to forgive and understand. To NOT give someone what they deserve especially when they deserve NOTHING!

That is the most Random Act of Kindness I have ever witnessed.

8:29 PM  
Blogger Skip Novak said...

I have seen a lot of examples that could be considered "Acts of Random Kindness", through my Church, through my work, even on vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina but I had to dismiss them all for an act of kindness that I still to this day have troubles wrapping all of my mental facilities around.

It was an act of Grace. You know what Grace is, don't you? Sure you do. It is when you DON'T GET WHAT YOUR DESERVE! Especially when you deserve the worst life has to offer. I got to observe this up close and personal.

Here is what happened;

A buddy of mine came home from work early one day, he worked midnights for the Sheriffs department in the City Jail, he got sick and his Lieutenant sent him home. I drove him to his house since we both lived in the same building and walked him up to his apartment.

You see where this is going?

Two armed men, one a Deputy the other a Cop walk into what is supposed to be an empty apartment... Yeah you see it don't you...

His door was kicked in, so we drew our service weapons and as we started to sweep the apartment we found a strung out, drug addicted scumbag standing in the living room with a television in his hands.

The look on the dipshits face was priceless, it said "Wha??? Fuck?? Why you here?" Then he promptly dropped the TV which shattered and scarred the shit out of me. I almost shot him.

Bob, my Sheriff buddy, said "Stand down Skip." I did. Then he looked at the crackhead and said "Hi Bro, what brings you here?"

Seriously, it was Bob's brother. Turns out the guy had been in and out of rehab for 5 years, stolen everything from his parents house for drugs, lost his wife and kids to drugs and had even been in jail a dozen times for petty crime. He was a lost cause. A hard case.

But Bob just sat down with him and talked it out. Didn't have him arrested, didn't yell at him, didn't turn his back on him. Instead, he forgave him. Cleaned him up and talked to him all night.

Bob called in sick for a week while keeping his brother locked in the spare bedroom and detoxing him. Two months sober and the guy fell off the wagon and was back on the streets feeding his beast.

I asked Bob once why he helped him and all he said was "It could have been me. It could have been you. You can't keep turning your back on the ones you love no matter what they do. He has lost everything and when he is ready I will be the only one he has to help him out. We as humans have to help each other, if not we are no better than the beasts in the wilderness."

He then told me about what "Grace" meant to him and I have adopted that philosophy into my own life. I try to not give into the human side of vengeance and instead I try to forgive and understand. To NOT give someone what they deserve especially when they deserve NOTHING!

That is the most Random Act of Kindness I have ever witnessed.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Skip Novak said...

Two armed men, one a Deputy the other a Cop walk into what is supposed to be an empty apartment... Yeah you see it don't you...

His door was kicked in, so we drew our service weapons and as we started to sweep the apartment we found a strung out, drug addicted scumbag standing in the living room with a television in his hands.

The look on the dipshits face was priceless, it said "Wha??? Fuck?? Why you here?" Then he promptly dropped the TV which shattered and scarred the shit out of me. I almost shot him.

Bob, my Sheriff buddy, said "Stand down Skip." I did. Then he looked at the crackhead and said "Hi Bro, what brings you here?"

Seriously, it was Bob's brother. Turns out the guy had been in and out of rehab for 5 years, stolen everything from his parents house for drugs, lost his wife and kids to drugs and had even been in jail a dozen times for petty crime. He was a lost cause. A hard case.

But Bob just sat down with him and talked it out. Didn't have him arrested, didn't yell at him, didn't turn his back on him. Instead, he forgave him. Cleaned him up and talked to him all night.

Bob called in sick for a week while keeping his brother locked in the spare bedroom and detoxing him. Two months sober and the guy fell off the wagon and was back on the streets feeding his beast.

I asked Bob once why he helped him and all he said was "It could have been me. It could have been you. You can't keep turning your back on the ones you love no matter what they do. He has lost everything and when he is ready I will be the only one he has to help him out. We as humans have to help each other, if not we are no better than the beasts in the wilderness."

He then told me about what "Grace" meant to him and I have adopted that philosophy into my own life. I try to not give into the human side of vengeance and instead I try to forgive and understand. To NOT give someone what they deserve especially when they deserve NOTHING!

That is the most Random Act of Kindness I have ever witnessed.

8:32 PM  
Blogger Skip Novak said...

A buddy of mine, a deputy, got sick one midnight shift at jail and I was asked to take him home.

Here is what happened.

Two armed men, one a Deputy the other a Cop walk into what is supposed to be an empty apartment... Yeah you see it don't you...

His door was kicked in, so we drew our service weapons and as we started to sweep the apartment we found a strung out, drug addicted scumbag standing in the living room with a television in his hands.

The look on the dipshits face was priceless, it said "Wha??? Fuck?? Why you here?" Then he promptly dropped the TV which shattered and scarred the shit out of me. I almost shot him.

Bob, my Sheriff buddy, said "Stand down Skip." I did. Then he looked at the crackhead and said "Hi Bro, what brings you here?"

Seriously, it was Bob's brother. Turns out the guy had been in and out of rehab for 5 years, stolen everything from his parents house for drugs, lost his wife and kids to drugs and had even been in jail a dozen times for petty crime. He was a lost cause. A hard case.

But Bob just sat down with him and talked it out. Didn't have him arrested, didn't yell at him, didn't turn his back on him. Instead, he forgave him. Cleaned him up and talked to him all night.

Bob called in sick for a week while keeping his brother locked in the spare bedroom and detoxing him. Two months sober and the guy fell off the wagon and was back on the streets feeding his beast.

I asked Bob once why he helped him and all he said was "It could have been me. It could have been you. You can't keep turning your back on the ones you love no matter what they do. He has lost everything and when he is ready I will be the only one he has to help him out. We as humans have to help each other, if not we are no better than the beasts in the wilderness."

That is the most Random Act of Kindness I have ever witnessed.

8:36 PM  

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