A couple of weeks ago, I brought up to my classmates that I wanted to start a new feature on my blog of sharing peoples’ stories of kindness. I told them that if they had any stories they would like to share, no matter how big or how small the act of kindness was, I would love to post it on my blog! This week, one of my classmates reached out to me and shared his story. A seemingly small act that he has remembered and kept with him (nearly four years after it occurred) as a reminder of everyone’s capability to be kind. Here is Adam’s story of kindness:
“When I am nostalgic about kindness, a particular memory comes to mind.
It happened in two minutes, at a water cooler, in the middle of a sparse forest, surrounded by prancing, sparkly eyed wildlings. My brother and I were in a four person water cue behind the Living Room stage at Shambhala 2015.
Shambhala is an electronic music festival that’s hosted yearly at the Salmo River Ranch of interior British Columbia. For those of you who are familiar with Northwestern Canadian camping festivals, Shambhala is an iconic name. It’s currently going into its twenty-second year and has hosted the likes of Skrillex, Excision, Green Velvet, Skream and thousands of other music producers.
A shared feature of these festivals are their devotion to peace, love, unity and respect, or PLUR, for short (though few use this acronym nowadays.) Many tout these festivals as exemplary of humanity’s greatest qualities, and for good reason. Music festivals bring together people with shared interests who have dedicated a handful of days (and nights) to leisurely activities. Having pleasant, relaxing interactions with all the attendees is an excellent intention that will improve the festival environment. Many even come to expect this attitude, and so much so that the message of peace can turn banal.
While I was in that water cue, I was fully invested in that attitude of love. However, my prejudices bumped up against expectation for kindness in that moment. Ahead of me were two people: a relaxed, female-bodied individual and an enormously-muscled male-bodied individual.
The man was annoyed with the water jug, as the water was too low for it to flow from its spout. Now, I must admit, I can be prejudiced towards muscle-men. I associate people of this appearance with the narcissistic, consent-violating, truck driving thugs of Jersey Shore, a villain I see as distant from my kindness-fueled festival play land.
In a few spectacular motions, the giant uncapped the water jug with one hand and refilled two water bottles with arcane precision. Then, to violate my assumptions, he turned to my brother and I with a beaming smile and refilled our water bottles without hesitation. I was filled with gratitude and my prejudices fell to pieces. We said thanks and never saw him again.
Today, I try to remember that everyone is capable of kindness and assumptions are lame. They limit my ability to connect to strangers through false narratives. Staying open to other people’s ability to present their personality can make it easier for me to empathize with them. Empathy builds trust. Trust makes way for kindness. Simple, right?”
Stories like Adam’s is what I aspire this blog to be about. Although what I’ve been discussing lately is how kindness can sometimes be difficult to choose, a lot of the time it isn’t. Small acts of kindness, like in Adam’s story, are more often than not the ones that leave a lasting impact on us. They are the ones that initiate the ripple effect of kindness.
Thank you, Adam, for sharing your story with us this week! Adam has a blog as well where he reviews and discusses electronic music, which you should definitely check out! You can find it by clicking here.