Every so often my mind flashes back to when I was sitting in a Tim Hortons coffee shop, studying a morning before an exam. When I was there, a middle-aged couple made brief, casual conversation with me: where was I studying, what exam did I have, how many exams did I have left, that sort of thing. And then, as they left, they dropped off another extra large coffee at my table, and wished me good luck.
I think the reason my mind flashes back to that moment is that I was overwhelmed with the amount of kindness they showed for me in that moment. In an instant, I went from being overwhelmed about my exam that was coming up in a couple of hours to be overwhelmed because of the compassion they showed for me.
Fast-forward to about a month ago, I was standing in the Starbucks lineup at my university. After I ordered my drink, I pulled my wallet out of my pocket to pay for my drink, when the barista said, “No, don’t worry about it, the girl over there paid for it”. After I grabbed my tea, I walked over to the girl, gave her a huge hug, and wished her an awesome day. Even though I wasn’t stressed about anything in particular, she still made my week.
And then fast forward again to just ten minutes ago, the barista at this coffee shop gave me my tea for free because I let an older lady go ahead of me in line.
I’m not sure why I have so much free coffee or tea sent my way, but that doesn’t matter much.
The compassion that you show other people often means more to them than you may ever know. Whether you show that compassion by buying someone a coffee or holding a door open for them, it is impossible to underestimate how you can make someone’s day just by being uncommonly nice to them.