The supposed “big day” has come and gone, as it is now Feb. 15. I’ve enjoyed seeing many different online shares of Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) and initiatives to promote some extra love this month: RAK Week, 28 Days of Kindness, Operation Nice February, 100 Acts of Kindness and many more.
Even on my own blog, The Good Long Road, I did a special series on 14 Days of Loving-Kindness, from Feb. 1 to Feb. 14. My goal is to carry this on all year as I focus on compassion.
So far, individuals I’ve focused on include myself, my family, counselors or those who provided guidance for me at critical points in my life, my colleagues and peers, teachers, an elderly friend, our neighbors, those who are homeless and hungry, children in Haiti, my spouse and even someone who hurt me deeply when I was a child.
Today, although my official “challenge” is complete, I’m planning to take the time to extend some kindness to friends I know who work in the hospitality industry, even if it’s just by posting something nice on their Facebook wall.
The mother of one of my son’s friends is a florist, and chatting with her briefly at preschool drop-off reminds me of how busy and hectic Valentine’s Day can be for specific industries.
I recall working 12 to 16 hour shifts on Valentine’s Day when I was a waitress. Often wait staff, caterers, chefs, bartenders, dishwashers, florists and many others work themselves to the breaking point on Valentine’s Day and the surrounding days. They rarely get to spend those actual holidays with their loved ones and sometimes just struggle to get through – or they experience the dates that are special to many of us as dates they eagerly want to come and go.
With all of that in mind, I plan to extend extra gratitude, kindness and love to anyone I meet today who would have been working extra hard this week. I will send messages of thanks and appreciation to friends across the country whom I can’t thank in person. I encourage you to do so, as well.
If you eat out today or grab a coffee, consider bumping up your normal tip by a dollar or two, or grab a coffee-shop gift card to drop off for a florist or chef. Even better, offer to babysit for that friend of yours who is a waiter or waitress, so that they can have a well-deserved date night.
Gratitude. Small acts of kindness. Paying it forward. Even a simple act can mean a lot.
Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.