This evening I walked into a Starbucks in my hometown and found a cozy corner spot to write, check emails, and read. As a Starbucks barista, I’m familiar with the sounds and flavors of the coffee shop and the general process of functions and things of that nature and often find it a comforting environment to work in. I knew some of the baristas and talked with them for a bit before sitting down. A few minutes later, an elderly gentleman who used a walker got up to leave and thanked the baristas for the good coffee as he did so. The man seemed kind, yet lonely. One of the baristas talked to the man for a moment and then offered to hold the door open for him. The man was kind, making remarks about how he was so used to it now and not to worry. However, the barista decided to go hold the door for him anyway, but never made the man feel small. The gentleman was thankful, saying, “Wow, there’s not too many people like you around anymore. The world needs that.” The small action seemed to make the man’s day. I felt proud of my fellow Starbucks barista and started reflecting on other similar instances I’ve witnessed while working and how more actions like that are needed now more than ever.
I began thinking about all the times I’ve held back kindness (whether on purpose or on accident) because of the busyness of focusing on my own small life. How many hurting people have I overlooked? How many people just needed another human to smile at them today?
I decided that I need to work on being more outwardly focused. I need to continue to notice the small things and cherish them. I need to show more kindness to people, especially “strangers.”
My challenge to you for this new year is this: notice more. Notice the small things. Be outwardly focused. Smile. Smile. Say hello. Have those tiny sometimes very awkward conversations while waiting in a long line instead of checking your phone.
Let’s make 2017 beautiful.