Kindness of Strangers


“Your greatness is measured by your kindness…”[1]

William J.H. Boetcker (1873-1962)
Religious Leader, Influential Public Speaker


I am a New Englander, born and raised.  We are known for keeping to ourselves, minding our own business.  But there are those instances where a stranger has been kind to me, for no apparent reason… and that is something we tend not to forget.

I had planned to go to Indiana to be with my daughter and her family before (we hoped) the birth of her new baby daughter.   I was needed as a babysitter for my beautiful Grand-Daughter Ella and I was glad to oblige.  Everything seemed to be going perfectly.  The flight was set for the following morning and all had been quiet.  Of course that was when everything changed.  My daughter, Leah,  was in labor and was on her way to the hospital.   I called the airlines but there was no way to get an earlier flight.

She and her family had moved into a new home just a few weeks before the baby’s arrival.   Her new neighbor offered her help.  “If you need anything at all, please let us know”.  She then gave Leah a list of all possible contact numbers.   So, in labor and in need of some help, Leah reached out, and asked if they could  watch Ella so her husband could join her for this major event.   They reassured her to not worry.  Their son and his girlfriend would be glad to do it.  As simple as that.

When I arrived, (after my newest grandchild, Emery had been born) the following morning, I was greeted by a fresh faced young man, his girlfriend and my family.  They were baking cookies and making banners “welcome Nana”   Amazing!   The kindness of strangers had made a real difference in our lives.

Research has shown that performing acts of kindness actually makes us happier.   When one group in this study was asked to perform 10 acts of kindness over a period of 10 days, their level of life satisfaction and happiness went up significantly.   Another study showed that generosity is contagious.  “Goodness spurs goodness, they found: A single act can influence dozens more”.(2)  This study showed that the more a person was bestowed with generosity, the more that person gave back to others.

I am just very grateful for the act of one generous and kind family and wont forget it.   I hope I can pass it on.

[1] Retrieved on December 15, 2012 from

2  Retrieved on February 1, 2012 from

One comment

  • Jeanine

    Love it…Ella reminds me of Leah at that age.
    I hope everyone is thriving and enjoying this time!

    February 3, 2013

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