For What It’s Worth

Kindness counts

Kindness counts; count on it.

It was just a simple act of kindness, a young man helping an old man. But, more than that, it was a heart-warming reminder that, despite the pervasive self-indulgence and self-centeredness that have swept into our society in the guise of self-esteem, there remain untold numbers of people who gladly and willingly focus on the needs of others rather than the wants of self.

The act of kindness occurred about five weeks ago in the Publix supermarket in Ormond Beach, FL. At least, I assume it was in Ormond Beach since the man who took a picture of the act is from Ormond Beach and ABC News in reporting on the act said the man was shopping in the local Publix.

What the man, Keith Kiel, saw and quickly snapped a picture of was Gage Boucher, 20, an employee of the store, stopping to tie a shoelace for an elderly man. Mr. Kiel, himself a senior citizen at age 64, told ABC News he thought to himself, “Aw, that’s neat. Let me take a picture of this.”

So, he did, barely snapping it in time to get the picture. He decided to post the picture on Facebook, saying, “I’ve never hit 100 likes on anything, but I figured people would resonate with this.”

He figured right.

The photo was posted on August 9, and four days later, when the ABC report aired on Good Morning America, the photo had received nearly 200,000 likes and had been shared more than 15,000 times. Who knows how many likes have been received since then or how many times the photo has been shared.

Kindness counts. That response beats the stew out of any response I have heard about to any of the millions of me-centered selfies being posted, texted, or e-mailed.

Young Mr. Boucher seemed matter-of-fact about what he had done. “I saw him struggling to tie his shoe. So, of course, I offered to help him out. Stuff like this happens every day and people don’t get recognized for it. This one just happened to get recognized.”

I’m impressed that Mr. Boucher feels this way, but I’m not convinced this type of kind action is as everyday an occurrence as he seems to believe. Nor, apparently, does Mr. Kiel. He thought it was enough out of the ordinary that it was worthy of taking a picture.

As a senior citizen, I can understand how the elderly man might have struggled with getting his shoelaces tied, perhaps because of arthritic hips or back that make bending over difficult or fingers robbed of suppleness by arthritis. That struggle might have been accompanied by embarrassment and frustration. To have a young man stop and kindly tie the shoelace instead of indifferently walking by and possibly even staring in the process would be appreciated more than could ever be expressed in saying, “Thank you.”

The assistance you rendered may not have seemed like much to you, Mr. Boucher, but I assure you it meant much to the man you aided—and to many, many of us hearing about it.

Kindness counts. It really does.

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One Response to For What It’s Worth

  1. Hubert Edgar says:

    I’ve seen this kind of thing on buses and the light rail. It tends to be an older and poorer group. Those people take care of each other because, so often, no one else will.

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