“We expect too much of new buildings, and too little of ourselves.”― Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities
Would you believe it if I told you that I experienced not ONE but TWO random acts of kindness last week? Well, believe it, because it certainly happened!
The first random act of kindness was in response to an act of neighbouring that my wife and I did a few weeks ago. Since moving into our condo building in August, we hadn’t come across too many of our new neighbours because of the closures of common spaces and limited elevator use. So we decided to write out some holiday cards and leave them under the doors of everyone who lives on our floor. We thought it would be a good way to break the ice without being too overzealous.
It felt a bit awkward at first, wondering how people would respond – and if they would respond at all. A few days went by, then a week, then two weeks. No responses. But just this past Saturday, as I opened the door that leads into the hallway of our condo floor, I glanced down to find a handmade card with hand-drawn Christmas trees on the front that read “THANK YOU”. I opened it and read the lovely note and smiled. It was from the neighbours down the hall who were thanking us for leaving them a holiday card.
The feeling we got from that simple exchange was fantastic. And to be honest, the simple act of creating the cards was fun as well. It only took us about a half an hour to write the cards and put them under the doors. It also helped to give us some holiday cheer during a very non-traditional holiday season.
As I discuss in my film, The Great Disconnect, people feel good when they give. And we often underestimate the pleasure that we will get from doing things for others. Which can be something as simple as a holiday card or even a handmade one :).
Which brings me to my second random act of kindness.
This past Saturday evening, out of the blue, a great and generous friend of mine gifted my wife and I a delicious take-out dinner from a favourite local restaurant. This friend lives in Toronto, and took the time to select the menu items that he knew we would like and called the restaurant here in Ottawa to ensure that our pick up would be smooth. It’s a generous way to not only support local but also connect with people that we’re unable to see face-to-face right now.
It’s times like these that we need to get creative with random acts of kindness and connection. These dual acts of generosity warmed both our hearts and subsequently our bellies :).
What can you do this week for someone? It doesn’t have to be an extravagant dinner – perhaps a phone call, a mailed card, or simply making eye-contact when out on the street. Don’t underestimate the potential these simple acts have to really make someone’s day special – and yours as well.
If you’re looking for ways to safely connect with your neighbours, be sure to download my neighbouring guide here.