Not so long ago, I was driving home from St. John’s and decided to take the drive-thru at MacDonalds to get a burger and fries. As I pulled up to window to tap my card the employee said “You don't have to pay, the people in front of you paid.” Surely there must have been some mistake. I wasn't driving in a caravan, and there wasn't anybody up ahead of me who might have paid for me.
My initial thought was that someone I know must have passed me on the road and they were doing me a good turn, perhaps a nice way of saying hello. Then I remembered an incident in the State of Florida where the act of buying a drink for the car behind created an eleven hour long “act of kindness” at a Starbucks drive-thru. The first act of kindness was random, though the others were inspired by the first. I couldn't wipe the grin off my face. Once the reality set in, that I'd been the target of a random act of kindness, by a stranger, I just couldn’t stop smiling. I felt so happy, so grateful, so blessed. I felt as if I were part of a community; a secret community of kind people. I then paid for the people in line behind me, picked up my meal and drove off, smiling the whole time. I’m not sure how many more people in the line up paid for the folk in the cars behind them, but all I knew is I wanted to pay this very kind and generous act forward. I wonder how often random acts of kindness happen? How many times have you been the recipient of an anonymous act of generosity?
Random acts of kindness are moments in which God is present in a momentary way. We experience God in the act of kindness, as given by one person to another and as received by that person. Random acts of kindness are not the only acts in which God bubbles up. God is present in moments of laughter, community, courage, honesty, beauty, and generosity. Random acts of kindness is indeed a wonderful way that allows us to model Christ to all those around us in a practical, real-life way.
Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.