An interesting thing happened last night. We went through the McDonald’s drive thru and placed our order, when we got to the pay window the cashier handed us the receipt and told us the person in front of us paid our bill, We were shocked. I had heard of this happening to people, but it never happened to us. I asked how much was the order for the guy behind us, he told us, and I handed over money to pay for them. I was hoping to start a chain reaction. It was the least we could do to service someone else and hopefully brighten their day, like ours was by the person in front of us. Service, no matter how small it is, is where kindness begins.
A few months ago, I asked people here what they wanted me to write about and a friend said service projects. Service, by definition, means the action of helping or doing work for someone. The guy at Mickey Dees did us a service by paying our tab and we performed the same service by paying it forward. It was an act of kindness, something we should try to do daily.
Service comes in many shapes and sizes. I love to help others when I can. When I was a teenager in youth group, we would hold service projects a couple of times a year. They consisted of everything from cleaning out the yard of an elderly church member to helping out at a local soup kitchen to working for a day with Habitat for Humanity building a house. I think the act of helping others keeps us grounded and in touch with the need of others. I know we all have needs and we might need help too, but when we help someone else, I think it makes the world a better place.
I haven’t done a lot of actual projects in the past few years, but when I was working at The Cheesecake Factory, we got a group together to go help at the Hawaii Food Bank for the day. The workers gave us a tour of the place and talked about the people who came in for food and toiletry items. We broke into groups and were given tasks. I worked with my general manager Kelly sorting out fruits and vegetables, throwing out the rotten ones. Everything they get is on a donation basis, so it isn’t always in the best shape. We made a deal that if it wasn’t something we would buy for ourselves, like if it was bruised too much or about to turn bad, it was going in the trash. We wanted people to have the same experience getting food like we do. We talked to the director about it, and he agreed. He liked the fact that we were thinking about how people felt, not just about the need. Just because they are less fortunate doesn’t mean they deserve less. You never know when it might happen to us.
When the world shut down in 2020 and people were waiting on unemployment to kick in or to be able to go back to work, I saw a lot of food distribution pick up places come to life through the kindness of strangers. In parking lots you would see lines of cars picking up groceries to get through the week. Regular people, living paycheck to paycheck, who normally don’t need help, needed help and the service provided was beautiful to see.
I am going to make a commitment to start doing more service projects. The world needs more helping hands, no matter how big or small the task is. It might be as simple as helping a neighbor with something or it might be a bigger task that requires a little more work. It’s crazy out there in the world today, but I think changes can be made with people doing small acts of service. All it takes is one person to start a revival…are you in?
Question for the comments…Have you ever done a group service project? What did you do? Give me some ideas for things to do.
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