I realized that the little things add up. I mean throughout the course of the day if you get a couple of nice surprises your way it just fills your happiness bubble and it makes you smile. It’s nice when someone adds to your happiness bubble instead of trying to burst it. Especially when it’s unexpected.
I get a kick out of that. But I realized this week that not everybody enjoys an unexpected surprise.
Last week I was on a mission to perk up your cars. If you live in California they’re a very big part of getting you anywhere and it’s always nice to find something that helps make that cruise more pleasant. They’re a necessity out here and I thought people always need help with that. So as I came across a couple of opportunities to make someone’s day easier, I thought why not lets add to the 40 Before 40 List.
Now there were a couple of items that I decided to pass along to a few innocent bystanders. On one occasion it was about 90 something degrees where I live, and as I opened my door to my truck, the heat just smacked the smile off my face and I winced. It was so hot in there and the steering wheel burned. I mean I could see the heatwaves rising from it. So I had to give it a couple of minutes to cool off, and as I stood there fanning the inside of my truck, I thought man if I had window shades, opening the car door would probably suck less.
So I went off and bought a window shade for myself and one for someone else. As I drove through various parts of the city getting my kids to different summer events, I stopped at one of the parking lots and spotted the sandal-brown Nissan Xterra that seemed to be melting in the sun. I took out the jumbo car shade, placed it on the windshield, left one of my 40 Before 40 notes, and went on my way feeling good.
But that feeling didn’t last the whole week as I decided to buy someone a car wash. I thought it would be something nice to do. I mean with the drought and everything, people are waiting for their cars to be pretty dirty before washing them. So I thought, why not help out at one of those drive-thru car washing operations by taping one of my notes and the car wash code I’d purchased on the keypad that people use before entering the car wash.
But apparently the chic wearing sunglasses in the brown Prius objected as she rolled down the window and asked me what I was doing, and why I was doing that, and saying how she didn’t want anything. I couldn’t believe it. I was trying to be undercover and go unnoticed but she pulled up just in the middle of my good deed. After her hostile mood passed I explained that I was trying to give someone a free car wash, she was more than welcome to take it, but if she didn’t want it, she didn’t have to.
I walked away from that one not feeling the great feeling I usually get when I do these things. She was poking at my bubble.
But I didn’t let that discourage me from helping someone else. I thought I had to end on a good note. I had to believe that there were others out there that would smile, and feel good about random acts of kindness landing on them. I wanted to believe that. So earlier this week, I purchased a gift card from Costco and made my way toward their gas station area. I put in a few gallons for myself, then I taped the gift card onto my note and stuck it on the pump. I quickly got into the truck and drove off before the cars behind could notice.
Pulling away made me hopeful. Made me think that the dude or chic would get out of the car and see this opportunity for free gas and smile. They’d look around for my truck, trying to figure out where I had gone, or what had just happened. And then smile because it would finally hit them … ‘Something nice just happened to me,’ and their happiness bubble would inflate just a little bit more.
I want to believe that.
I want to hope that happened, because that’s what this is all about, spreading kindness and having it touch somebody.