Kindness is most likely humanity’s most enduring quality. Being kind is being human. Even in today’s fast-paced world, where people don’t have time to care for one another, kindness is not only an asset, but also a virtue. We never know what our kindness might lead to. It may be life-affirming in some circumstances. In fact, it was kindness that prevented a homeless man named Chris from committing suicide. How? A woman bought him a bagel and a cup of coffee and sat with him. Sometimes all it takes is a sympathetic ear. It may seem insignificant to you, but it could be the greatest thing since sliced bread to them.
Chris, on the other hand, did write a short message for this woman on a tiny piece of paper that truly expressed his feelings about this. “Today I wanted to kill myself. I no longer do as a result of you. Thank you, lovely lady.” A screenshot of this heartfelt note went viral in 2016 and was also shared on the ‘Love What Matters’ Facebook page. Since then, the image has received nearly 700,000 likes. Interestingly, this message also managed to spark a conversation between people who spoke about how kindness helped them get through a particularly difficult period in their lives.
For Chris, this was the first time he truly believed in life and in himself. Casey Fischer, who bought him the bagel and coffee, saw it as nothing more than a small act of kindness that cost her nothing. And maybe just a smidgeon of fate—for it was fate that led her to Dunkin Donuts on that fateful day, and fate that put Chris right in front of her. Kindness has no monetary value, so be kind and move on. Fischer was walking towards the cafe when she noticed Chris, a homeless man sitting by the road. He was picking up some loose change, as far as she could tell.
“Eventually I saw him stroll into Dunkin, and as he was counting his change to buy something, I began to get super annoying and talked to him over and over again, even when he didn’t really want to talk,” she later explained. I bought him a coffee and a bagel because he had maybe $1 in change and asked him to sit with me.” The homeless man finally started talking about his life after pestering Chris for several moments. He went on to say that because he was homeless, people were usually very mean to him. However, all he desired from life was to “be someone his mother would be proud of.”
Through their conversation, Chris also opened up about his issues with substance abuse- something that had turned him “into the person he hated”. He talked about losing his mother to cancer and not knowing who his father was. During this conversation, Casey learned that the homeless man’s name was Chris. “Chris was one of the most honest and sincere people I’ve ever met,” said the woman who showed such incredible kindness later. Casey realized it was time to leave for class after more than an hour of chatting with Chris.
While Chris was saying her goodbyes, the homeless man asked her to wait so he could write something down for her. “Handing me a crumpled-up receipt, he apologized for having shaky handwriting, smiled, and left,” she recalled. The receipt contained the note that Casey would most likely treasure for the rest of her life. Kindness Isn’t as uncommon as it appears. Since this story about kindness was shared on the Facebook page, many others have shared their own stories.
“I am homeless, have been since last year, and I was staying under a 275 overpass for two weeks,” wrote one user, Gary Edelmann Jr. I’m now in a Salvation Army program and doing much better. I just got a job and will start tomorrow, so my life is getting better by the day. I’m not proud of how I got here, but by God’s grace, I’m getting out of it. “All I ask is that you pray for the homeless and be kind.” Another individual, Jo Goldstein, went on to state, “I left an abusive situation and for almost 3 years I was homeless and without my two kids, I got a job, my own place and got my kids back.
I am now a single mother of four children, and while I am struggling, I am doing well and will continue to do so.” Sometimes all it takes is a kind look and a few words. Casey’s story of kindness inspired Lauri Alexander, another Facebook user, to share her own. “A few years ago, I was in line at our local post office when I noticed an obviously homeless man behind me. He was filthy, having clearly not bathed, combed his hair, or changed his clothes in who knows how long. The others in line stood back several feet from him, a disgusted expression on their faces.
I hadn’t even noticed him until the woman behind the counter looked up, saw him, and her face turned angry, rolling her eyes. That’s when I turned to see what or who had ruined her day. I asked how he was doing today and mentioned how nice it was to be outside.” Later, as she was about to get into her car, the same man approached her and asked if he could assist her. When she thought he was going to panhandle her, all he did was thank her for talking to him nicely and then went on his way. It’s easy to believe that kindness doesn’t cost anything, so why shouldn’t we practice it? So, if you’ve ever been in a situation where you were either being kind to someone or receiving kind help, please share your story in the comments section below!