I was lucky enough to enjoy a "date day" with my 7-year old son. Picnicking and hiking we would go, and it started with picking up lunch at Whole Foods. On our way to the entrance, we saw a woman sobbing and a friend over her shoulder, consoling her tenderly. I sent her heartfelt wishes for a bit of ease to her apparent pain as we continued inside. My son and I did our shopping, then brought our groceries to the car, glancing to see the two women at their table, as we loaded our groceries and climbed in. We were ready to leave when my son reminded me, "Mom, we forgot the syrup!" I love this little human being – he keeps me straight! "Ah yes ... well, let’s go get it while we are here," and we both ran into the store to quickly grab the syrup.
We ran so fast that we almost toppled the floral gal who was wheeling a cart of red and white freesias to the back room. Instantly, I knew what I had to do, and why I was sent back into the store. My son and I looked at each, and without saying a word, picked out a bouquet of white freesias for the woman we had seen earlier (the color I hoped would represent hope and inspiration for her) and a bunch of red ones for me (the color I relate to for heart connection).
When I walked out, I excused my interruption with the two women and looked at the woman who had been crying and commented, "I couldn't help but noticing, earlier you seemed sad, so I just wanted you to have these. May you have a little sweetness in your day." I could feel her heart melt as I handed over the white freesias. Her eyes welled up and she gasped. "Oh, Thank you. You are my angel today," and we parted ways. A simple gesture. Indelible heart prints on us both.
My son and I enjoyed our date day of hiking, with no mention of what we witnessed and participated in earlier that day. As we were driving to our home, he asked if I could drop him off at the back of the house and he’d meet me at the front driveway. “Sure,” I remarked. When I drove around, he was waiting for me with a huge smile. From behind his back, he pulled out a bouquet of green sour grass with bright yellow flowers and beamed, “Mommy, these are for you, something sweet for you.” My heart melted on the spot!
Kindness, for the sake none other than giving selflessly to others, is by far the biggest catalyst for happiness and connection. From the neuroscience research, we know there are chemical releases of oxytocin, from the brain to the body, that fill the body with a sense of purpose and connection. What’s more, oxytocin is released when we “receive, give or witness the act of kindness" according to leadership expert and professor at Columbia University, Simon Sinek. Kindness truly is contagious.