Ripples of Kindness

November 13, 2019/ Farah Merchant

 When living in a highly individualized society, it becomes hard for people to think about others, especially when kindness can be seen as a weakness. Small acts of kindness, such as holding the door open for someone or walking an elderly lady down the street, still exist. However, even these acts are done out of convenience. If someone is headed inside, they may hold the door open for someone behind him. Or an individual may help someone cross the street if he is headed that way. Now, people are less apt to take time out of their day to help others, so true kind acts go noticed and remembered.

On World Kindness Day, Nov. 13, we celebrate these acts of kindness. But kindness is more than the quality of being friendly, generous, or considerate. It is deeper humanity. It empowers people. It makes people vulnerable. It creates a shared experience. The power of kind acts, words and moments resonates with people. Below students and faculty share the most memorable act of kindness they experienced — some were recent and others were years ago.


“I think the one that comes to mind most recently is that I’m from San Antonio, where I’m from is an hour and a half to two hours outside of Austin. I do get to visit my family a decent amount, but sometimes during midterms I don’t get to see them that often. I was talking to my mom, as usual, it was the weekend before ACL, and I was saying, ‘oh no I forgot my camelback at home, but I have 2 tests this week. I’m not going to be able to drive down and get it or whatever. It’s not a big deal. I’ll get a water bottle.’ But my mom surprised me the Friday morning of ACL. She took the 2 hour drive by herself and came to bring me my camelback. We got to spend some time together. I told her I was craving broccoli cheese soup from Jason’s Deli, and she took me there. It was just a sweet mother-daughter time. It just made me think that she dedicated that time she could have been doing more important stuff at home just to come see me because she knew it was a hard week for me. She knew it was a basic little thing that I didn’t need that would bring me happiness.”


“I left work and was walking across Guadalupe and a car almost hit me. Deadass thought I was going to die. The car almost hit me, and I started crying. A car pulled over. It was a cute little blond girl. She pulled over her car, got out, and talked to me to make sure I was okay. I was on a scooter. This was like last week. She was like, ‘I just wanna know if you’re okay. This can be kind of frazzling.’ I just thought it was super sweet. People usually don’t care about others. They don’t care to check up on others. I think it’s super important if you see something, you say something. It was the fact that she was on the way to class; she pulled over; she got out of her car just to ask if I was okay. It wasn’t like I was hit. I could have kept scottering. I thought it was really nice. It makes you feel like even though the world is moving so fast, someone is watching you.”


“I was thinking about this yesterday because for my anthropology class we have to interview a grandparent. My grandpa passed away a few years ago. When I was in middle school, he would send me emails asking about my life and trying to check up on me. I’m not that close to my grandparents, so the fact that he wanted to be involved in my life and wanted to know what I was doing or interested in. I think about that a lot.”


“I lost my cat, and I thought she was dead. I was in the grievance process. We put up posters all around. An older woman called me and said, ‘Not only do I have your cat, but I have been feeding her. She’s fat. She’s happy. She’s alive.’ This was 2 weeks after I lost her. I don’t know how my cat got 2-3 miles away - you know how cats are. She didn’t have any cats herself, but she brought her in and fed her. When she brought her back to me, she brought kitty litter, cat food, a little bowl she had brought her. She realized that when that cat belonged, she gave her back. She could have kept her because she loved her.”

Wherever you are or whoever you are, take a little time today to make someone else’s day. A small act that doesn’t take much effort might be what brightens someone’s gloomy day. The impact of doing something kind for someone lasts much longer than we think. In times of colder weather, we could all use a little more warmth in this world. •

by: Farah Merchant

graphics: Jasmy Liu

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