Trying to spread kindness can often feel like fighting a losing battle . . .
There is so much prejudice out there, such discord and ingrained thoughtlessness, that at times, it's like swimming against the tide. It's at these times that our courage is required. It's at these times that it's important to remember Rosa.
Rosa Parks, that is, whose example inspired the previous post on this blog. That, in the here and now, people are following Rosa's example gives us hope that the tide can be turned.
Take Michael Garcia, for instance, for his courage and kindness know no bounds . . . .
The warmhearted waiter put his job on the line last month when he refused to serve a customer who had been heard to make a cruel remark about Milo Castillo, a five-year-old with Down Syndrome, who was sitting in a neighboring booth.
Having asked to be moved to a different table, the customer in question is said to have told Michael that 'special needs children need to be special somewhere else'.
'I found it so disturbing,' says Michael, aware that his actions could have cost him his job. 'My personal feelings took over and I told the man, 'I'm sorry, I can't serve you'.'
Michael, who describes Milo as 'a little angel', didn't lose his job. That his employers backed him up is heartening to hear. It's called doing the right thing.
'I'm so impressed that Michael stood up for Milo,' says Kim Castillo, Milo's mom. 'He's just a kid and he shouldn't be discriminated against. Michael doesn't really know us, but he stood up for Milo because it was the right thing to do.'
It has long been our opinion that if more people showed greater courage and stood up for what's right in life, no matter the personal risks involved, our Earth could become a kinder place. Once again, we'll refer to Rachel Scott's chain reaction. The evidence is there that the ripple is getting bigger. It might feel like a losing battle but this is a war that can be won . . .
That innumerable others feel like Michael is obvious because, in recent days, he has received cards and gifts and donations that total more than $1000. These he has donated to Milo's school, the Rise School of Houston, an excellent institution that, rather than discriminating against children with special needs, helps them.
'When you have something like this with someone who had no reason to be kind - he (Michael) doesn't have relatives with special needs, he's not a teacher - it gives us hope,' says Ashley Kress, the school's development director. 'He did it out of a sense of what was right, and from his heart.'
This week is Random Acts of Kindness Week and, whilst we're steadfast in our belief that kindness should be practiced all year round, we'd like you to make an extra effort to be nice to others in the coming days . . .
The kindest acts are often the smallest - holding a door open, smiling at a stranger, helping a neighbor - and it's not always about making grand gestures. From time to time, though, you'll encounter someone in real need. Help them out. Make a difference.
Choi Dae Ho - a Korean taekwondo instructor - did just that when, during a visit to Singapore, he noticed an old lady, struggling on the hot pavements with no shoes on her badly-blistered feet. Choi didn't think twice before removing his shoes and giving them to her . . .
'I didn't think it was such a big deal,' says the 22-year-old, who is being hailed as the Far East's answer to Kindness Cop Lawrence DePrimo. 'It was a small gesture, something I felt I had to do or I'd regret it.'
Here at OM®, where people such as Choi Dae Ho, Rosa Parks, Rachel Scott, Michael Garcia, Lawrence DePrimo et al are our greatest inspiration, we'd like to encourage you all to be brave, stand up for what's right and continue to spread kindness wherever you may go. Do this, and right will prevail. Be courageous. Be kind and, above all, be connected.
2013 is the OM Year of Kindness. Find out more about this here.