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Put Good In, Get Good Out

There are millions of people in the world. We all depend on each other when things don’t go as planned. The majority of us only expect assistance from those we are well acquainted with, but, luckily, there is always someone around when a little extra help is necessary. Here are a few short stories that express how little you can do to make a huge impact in someone’s life. Even if you’ll never cross paths with them again, the feeling you get is more than enough to put a smile on your face.   

One evening, I was waiting in line for the bathroom at the train station. More often than not, the women’s restroom has a line. At this location, people like to be in and out quickly to be able to catch their trains. Understandable, it’s late, everyone wants to go home after a long day. So, I’m waiting in line and an older woman comes through the doorway and bumps into a woman standing behind me. The woman, angry, tells her to watch where she’s going. The elderly lady didn’t say anything and kept walking. She bumps into me and says “excuse me, I’m sorry.” I said it was alright and then noticed that she was blind. I was next in line, and a stall opened up. I could have just gone and done my business, but I let her go before me. Granted, she can’t actually see which bathroom stall is open, so I helped her over to it since it was a pretty claustrophobic area to be in any way, especially with a “white cane.” Upon helping this woman, I went back in line, and the angry, now fuming, woman told me to get behind her and wait my turn. I was not going to argue, I stepped out of line, and yes, grade school rules apply here. It was finally my turn, and I did what I had to do. Unfortunately, I missed my train….by ten seconds…. Either way, I felt happy that I was able to help someone, and besides, the next train was in twenty minutes anyway, I could wait just a little longer.  

 

Another time was also at the train station. Again, it’s hustle and bustle. People are running around, trying to catch their trains home. Once again, an older individual was in need of assistance. She had a walker and was having difficulty making it down the escalator. People are passing her and looking at her, but no one stopped to ask if she needed help. I was walking down the stairs to the left of the escalator and saw her. I asked if she needed help, and the woman smiled at me and said “please.” She put her arm around mine and stepped onto the escalator, and I held her walker until we made it down. She was so happy and had the biggest smile on her face and thanked me for helping her down. I told her it was no big deal, and we went our separate ways. I felt good helping her, and I know she also greatly appreciated it. It always feels good to help someone. 

At one point in life or another, your friends will invite you to a social gathering. One type would be to just go out, and have an extended conversation with good friends to catch up, and keep up with what everyone is up to in their own busy lives. These people are individuals who you depend on. Unfortunately, not everyone has it that easy. I remember doing a charity event back in high school. Multiple extracurricular clubs joined in on this event; it was “Night of Fine Dining.” The rundown was that after school had been dismissed, all the clubs that volunteered would cook a full course meal for the guests. From 3:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., we had to make dinner, and decorate the school cafeteria to look like a fancy restaurant. We had some friends who were in a band of their own come out and play some of their music, we decorated the tables with beautiful centerpieces, and all of us were dressed as waiters. The guests started to arrive, and we all worked as a team to get their names down and find them seats. As one group was seating the guests, another was offering refreshments. Once everyone was seated, we served the appetizers. We worked in groups, and we were taking turns, then dinner came around, and we again did the same routine. There was a lot of movement between passing around food, collecting plates, glasses, refilling beverages for the guests and answering questions. Then, it was time for dessert. We worked quickly to pass it out, that might mainly be because there were more of us. As the night was ending, more and more people were leaving. As a reward for our hard work, the clubs were offered the desserts that we served because there were tons of leftovers! We took breaks in groups so that someone was always working. That same night, the drama club put on a play for the guests as well. There were maybe ten people left in the cafeteria, and I noticed a table just had one person seated at it. I watched people pass by this person, and then I noticed that he had crutches. I walked over to him and asked if he was alright. He said everything is fine, but he can’t carry his tray to the garbage can. I offered to toss it for him, and he refused. I said it was no trouble and went ahead and did it. He felt so bad that he asked me to do this tiny favor for him. I reassured him that it was completely fine. He then said that he didn’t want to waste my time. I told him it was not an issue; we had a conversation for about two hours until we parted. After the fact, I wondered why other people around him didn’t offer to throw his tray out if they saw that he had crutches. It’s a small act of kindness that takes less than a minute. Either way, I ended that night on a good note and felt amazing doing so. 

Acts of kindness are everywhere you look. They can be subtle like helping someone lift a heavy object or returning someone’s accidentally dropped belongings, like their wallet or gloves, or even sharing a textbook with a fellow classmate. They can be bigger things like paying for someone’s meal when they can’t afford it. What’s best about this action is that it doesn’t have to be based on people, you can help animals too. There are hundreds upon hundreds of opportunities available for someone to help anyone, even animals. Everyone out there needs your help, and you need their’s, we all depend on each other, it should not just be during the holiday season. It just takes a small gesture and a little thought.

(Photos Courtesy of pexels.com)

My name is Maggie, and I am currently a junior at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). My major is English, with a concentration in professional and technical writing. Currently, I am interning at Classic Chicago Magazine, an online magazine located in the city of Chicago, and I am one of their social media correspondents. Being a member of HerCampus UIC is wonderful opportunity and exactly what I need to learn how to achieve my goals while enhancing my writing and technology skills.
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