The other day, as I was hunched in front of my laptop, feverishly trying to meet a book deadline, I noticed an Amazon delivery guy out the window. He smiled as he caught my eye, put a package on the front step, and waved goodbye as he hurried back to his vehicle.
It was a 10-second moment of kindness in a pretty stressful week, and it actually reminded me of one of my favorite Amazon ads this past holiday season. The ad shows a sad young woman who is noticed by her older neighbor. In the quick montage of scenes, we learn that the older woman loves birds: she feeds them from a bench in front of their apartment building. She orders a gift online for her lonely neighbor, and we next see the younger woman entranced by birds flitting around the new birdfeeder on her balcony. She sees the older woman across the way on her own balcony and mouths “Thank you,” with a smile. The final scene shows the two women sitting together on the bench.
The tagline for the ad is “Kindness. The greatest gift.” Nicely done, Amazon.
We desperately need more kindness in the world. Desperately. You probably agree with that statement. And yet in order to get there, there are some absolutely crucial changes that must be made in our culture, our social media, and our communities. And what we may not realize is: they all start with the person looking in the mirror every morning.
Let’s look at several steps that we need to grapple with.