Try this: Shock the world with kindness

I went to the downtown Post Office today to mail out my broken laptop. That’s another story for another time. Encased in bubble wrap and tape and a flat-rate box I  was primed and ready to use the automated machine and leave. Two minutes tops was my goal.

I thought about parking and dashing in, skipping the ceremonial dropping of the coins in the parking meter. But I’ve learned a lesson about the meters that ring the office long ago. I’m fairly certain there is a city enforcer who seemingly has nothing else to do except write parking tickets in that block. I know. I learned the lesson the hard way.

I’m not the only one. Not a day passes when I don’t see the white tickets with the yellow envelopes somewhere in this zone of trouble.

Just jumping out and running inside without paying the meter was not an option. It wasn’t worth the $20 ticket.

So, I reached into my pocket and fumbled out three dimes, two nickels and a quarter. I smiled, looking forward to getting rid of them. These coins have been a lonely collection that I’ve been carrying for days now. Every night I pull them out, leave them on the dresser when I change my clothes. The next morning, the same collection is still waiting and I dutifully scoop them into my pocket for a ride.

I walked up to the meter and was pleasantly surprised. There was more than an hour already on the machine. What fortune!  I started to put the coins in my pocket but then I winced. I had been eager to get rid of them just seconds ago and now I was ready to horde them?

I decide to spend the money I would spent anyway, if not for the fortune of the person before me. I walked along the street, feeding meters. The next three meters got a  single  coin, extending their time by a few minutes and no doubt frustrating the Parking Meter Czar who was sure to be prevented from dispensing a least one or two parking violations.

Photo by Josh Newton

Photo by Josh Newton on Unsplash

The world doesn’t know what to do with joy

I started to feed the fourth meter when a man leaned his head out the window of the car parked in that space. He surprised me, as I didn’t know anyone was in the vehicle.

He stuck his chin out and said accusingly, “What the F#$# are you doing?

I was a little taken aback at the abruptness of his accusation.

But then I gathered myself and smiled.

“I had a little extra change and I’m trying to save some tickets,” I said.

He shook his head and muttered loud enough for me to hear. “What a moron.”

I waited until he got settled back into his car and then I dropped the rest of the coins, one – at – a –time – into the meter. I admit to being a little passive-aggressive at that point, but I wasn’t going to let this guy stop me from my mission of meter mercy.

We have to stop the insanity

These days are angry. Words are spoken in haste and without regard. Civility is lost. Humanity is losing its way and it won’t be long until we are reduced to just another animal in the kingdom is we don’t stop this insanity.

I don’t think 65 cents will change the world. But it’s a start.

We need to shock the world with kindness.

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