His eyes still haunt me. Who is he? I don’t know, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
A high schoolmate of mine, Ricky Smith, has started a revolution. His movement #R.A.K.E. stands for – Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere. He has literally traveled the country doing acts of kindness for random people. Things like gathering blankets for the homeless, taking a random homeless person out to eat, yard work, free hugs, and the list goes on.
The movement is so big that Men’s Health did a piece on him, the Mayor of our hometown of Cleveland declared an official citywide #RAKE day (in which even our MLB team took part), celebs have gotten in on the action. It is amazing.
But back to the eyes that haunt me. The day before the “official” #RAKE day, I was getting gas. When I came out of the station there was a man standing there in a worn overcoat and old faded Carhart bibs.
“Sir, do you have any spare change?” he almost whispered. There was a cop nearby and I’m sure he didn’t want to cause any trouble.
I asked him if he was hungry. He said yes. We went back in the store and bought some breakfast. It was cold out and I offered him coffee, but he declined.
He thanked me for the food and disappeared.
What struck me more than anything else was the fact that he could have been any of us. He looked like he could have been one of my coworkers.
I don’t know if he had anywhere to go or where his next meal would come from. I just remember his eyes. They were cold, blue, sad eyes.
It makes me think about how often we avoid each others’ eyes. How we miss opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life because we are too busy looking somewhere else. Our eyes glued to our phones, tablets, next opportunity, etc.
And sometimes all it take is the simplest of gestures – a smile, a hug, a pat on the back, a phone call. These gestures don’t cost us a thing, but can make the world of a difference.
I remember one of the kindest things someone did for me was the time in 5th grade my grandmother brought me lunch money. She brought me a quarter for a hot lunch that day. In order to get the money to me, she had to take at least two, if not three, buses. I didn’t find out it was from her until days later. It meant the world to me that she would go through all that trouble to bring me money for lunch.
Check out the hashtag #RAKE on Twitter and see some of the things that others are doing to make a difference.
What’s the smallest gesture that meant the most to you?