Thirty-Six Cents of Kindness

February 03, 2021

Chardelene is from Houston, TX and is currently a senior in high school. Her aspirations include pursuing a career as a mental health nurse and to later become a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

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Some people tend to underestimate the power of kindness and dismiss it as “too insignificant to make a difference.”

However, one of the most significant memories in my life involves the smallest act of kindness. I remember being in the fourth grade, fingers clutched around a five-dollar bill at the Scholastic Book Fair, as I waited in line to pay for my new book. When my turn came to approach the cashier, I greeted her with a smile and handed her the book. Once my item was bagged, the total came to five dollars and thirty-six cents. 

My heart dropped. I completely forgot about the tax. 

In a state of panic, I asked if I could come back later with an extra thirty-six cents and pay for the book then. My tiny palms began to sweat and my heart pounded so loud, I was certain everyone in the library could hear it too.

Suddenly, a woman in a yellow dress walked up to the cashier with a handful of change. “I’ve got her covered,” she chirped. She greeted the cashier, smiled at me, and said, “It’s just a couple cents. No biggie.” I went home that day with a new book, and from that day forward, I always carried extra change in my purse.

Although this event took place about nine years ago, I won’t ever forget the woman in the yellow dress and her thirty-six cents. Kindness can inhibit many different forms. Whether it’s baking cookies to welcome your new neighbor, checking up on your friends, or covering a fourth grader’s thirty-six cents, acts of kindness go a long way. I have been lucky enough to encounter a number of strangers whose faces I’ll never forget because of the kindness they’ve shown me. 

Kindness also applies to ourselves. Often, we can be harsh on ourselves and say some pretty mean things. Thus, it’s important to remember to give yourself a compliment every once in a while. Say something nice to your reflection. Tell yourself you are capable of achieving anything you put your heart toward.

It doesn’t take too much work to be nice to yourself and to the people around you. Don’t believe me? Give it a try right now. It’ll take five seconds to text a friend something nice. Sometimes all people need to make them feel better is a little bit of kindness, so don’t be afraid to be the reason someone smiles today—even if that someone is you.

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