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Vail Valley Voices: Random acts of kindness

Here is a prayer I don’t like: “God give me what I need, not what I want.”

This prayer has to be addressed. I think there is too much of a fine line between wants and needs.

For example, I really want a steak. Does that mean I only need 73 percent ground beef? I really want a Thunderbird. Do I need to settle for a Pinto? I really want to be a world-class bump skier. Shouldn’t I be happy I can still dance like a white man?



How to transition “wants and needs” to “random acts of kindness” is now the challenge of this piece. Never mind, it’s done. You have just been transitioned.

I asked a dozen people this week to give me an example of a “random act of kindness.” Here are three examples and they include everything from wants, to needs, to kindness. And of course, life is just random anyway.



First, an exchange I had with a buddy about something to do on Friday.

He said, “I got this email from a friend who has friend that knows a guy who was told this golf course is open through the winter and is free to play.”

“Free golf? What’s the catch?”



“Have fun and respect the ground. I’ll let you know. We play tomorrow.”

Two days later: “How was it?”

“A frickin’ blast! Temps were 50, a guy playing golf with his dog, kids with their dad, hackers with patience and just a great walk in the park. It was rather utopian in a sense,” he said.

Look at all the people an owner of a golf course made happy with an act of kindness. And let’s not forget my buddy wants to live in Florida, but now knows he only needs free golf in Colorado.

My daughter called me to give her example, but had to explain a couple of things to me before I could completely understand the act.

In the old days, if you needed tickets for a sporting event or concert, you stood outside with a sign that said, “Need Tickets.” Apparently that’s too complicated and has been cast aside as old fashioned. Now if you don’t have a ticket, you hold up a sign that says “I Need a Miracle.”

So my daughter paid $80 for a ticket to a concert including bands that play a two-hour song and everybody sways back and forth and back and forth and then claps at the end. For whatever reason, she was not able to attend this episode of longevity in music.

Being a poor college girl, she desperately wanted to sell the ticket to someone and get the $80 back in her pocket. (She’s a hippy and eats a lot of of nuts and berries. Eighty bucks can last her three months or more.)

Her friend offered to buy the ticket for face value. The act of kindness happens when her friend attends the concert, walks up to someone holding a “I Need a Miracle” sign and gives that person the ticket. Just Merry Christmas and no currency exchanged. My daughter bought what she wanted, and got back the 80 bucks she needed.

I have a friend who walks a flight and a half of stairs to get her mail at work. She does not like elevators and truly believes that walking the steps back up to her office is part of a holistic medical procedure that will keep her butt from growing.

Trouble is that all the doors open out on the way down and open in on the way back up.

Recently she was carrying stacks of mail, a large coffee from the lobby, a half-gallon of purified water from the dispenser and a napkin with two slices of yesterday’s birthday cake.

A man was standing, waiting for the elevator, while she deciphered where her pinky finger was so she could hook the door handle on the way back up.

He offered to help and opened the first door for her.

“Thank you.”

He opened the next door to the stairwell across from the elevator.

“Thank you.”

He followed her up all the stairs and opened the next door to the hall that leads to her office.

“Thank you.”

He opened her office door and said, “Are there any more doors? I’m now on the floor the elevator was taking me to.”

“Thank you.”

This guy took an act of chivalry to another level and ultimately got what he needed, which was the floor he wanted to be on.

My friend got what she wanted. No spilled coffee, dropped mail or smashed birthday cake from trying to open up all those doors.

Look around you. It happens every minute of every day.

Better yet, just do it.


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