Experience Project iOS Android Apps | Download EP for your Mobile Device

One Simple Act Of Kindness

One Random Act of Kindness.

It was my rather typical day at work. I was an evening server at a pizza place, nothing exciting. We had a problem with a homeless man loitering in our store. We were told to kick the man out if he had tried to do so again. I had never seen the man, nor did I necessarily want to kick him out. The floor was dead, not a customer. It was getting late, probably near 7pm when I see a man crossing the road. He was heading towards the store, and with one look, you could tell he was a homeless man. It didn’t take much for me to judge him by his appearance. I kept thinking how I was going to throw this man out. I didn’t want to, but it was expected of me. He walked in, awkwardly. I felt annoyed with him to start to be honest. He approached me, his eyes beyond bloodshot, his cloths and hair quite obviously dirty. He asked me, “Hello sir, could you be kind enough to tell me where the bathroom is?”

                In a half annoyed voice, I told him it was down the hall, to the left. He nodded and made his way down the hall. I was so naïve then, judging him as he took each step. He made his way back after some time had passed. I was actually shocked when he said he wanted to order something, as awful as that is. To this day, I remember what he ordered. He ordered a whole large pizza, pepperoni, sausage, and mushroom, on thin crust, a coffee, a water, and pop, all for himself. I thought to myself, this is over 22 dollars, how will he pay for this? I am ashamed I had such thoughts. He pulled out his old military wallet, with his Soldier’s I.D in the inside cover. He pulled out a twenty and five, and I gave him his change. I gave him his cups, silverware, and plate and he went and sat at the first booth to the right. I kept staring at him. I felt like I had known him from somewhere, but I could not remember where. After brewing up the man’s coffee, I brought the pot out to him, since no one else was going to be drinking it. I walked up to him and said, “I am sorry sir, but I feel like I know you from somewhere. Have we met before?”

                He looked up at me, his kind blue eyes bloodshot. He smiled as he said, “No, probably not.”

I asked him if we had gone to the same church, or if he was a regular, trying to decipher that feeling of knowing him, but we had not known each other. He smiled and said slowly and calmly, “If you think we know each other, then we must”

                I smiled back at the man, agreed, and went back to work. I did not know why, but I felt so drawn to him. Just moments ago I was so cruel in my thoughts, but now, I felt so important to me. I brought out his pizza personally, set it on the table, and asked if he needed anything else. I hesitated to bring it, but I felt like I had to. I asked him “I noticed you are a veteran sir. Thank you for your service.”

                He responded slowly, with that smile I will never forget, “I was a private, in Vietnam.”

                “Well thank Sir. Both my great uncles fought in Vietnam. Not many soldiers received thanks for what they did overseas. So thank you.

                He simply responded, “Son, you don’t know how much that made my day.”

                I was almost fighting back tears when I asked for his name. He responded slowly, as if he had almost forgotten his own name. He worked it out slowly. His first name, then spelled out his last name with a noticeable pause within each letter. I will never forget this man’s name. I then asked him “Sir, can I shake your hand?”

                He smiled, and we firmly shook hands. I smiled, and went back to cleaning the floor, still trying to hold back tears. I let him enjoy his meal, to which he ate every slice. I walked up to him again, asking if there was anything else that he needed, addressing him as Sir, as I always did. He said he’d like some ice cream, mint chip, chocolate chip, and chocolate. Instead of having him come up to the counter I took his money and ordered it for him. We weren’t allowed to do three scoops per one order, but I charged him for two anyways. I wouldn’t let this man leave without the ice cream he ordered. I brought it to him, with his 32 cents which I set on the table. I asked the man if I could sit down with him, to which he very happily said that I could. He asked me for my name, which I had told him. I forgot why, but I asked him if he had anything planned for the holiday weekend. He told me he was going to go see his wife, who was buried a state over. My felt heart ache as I asked him how he was going to get there, but he assured me he had a car. I knew he was lying, but I did not say anything. He had finished his ice cream rather quickly, and I asked him if he would like anything else. He looked me in the eyes, and passed me the 32 cents and said, “Could I have another 3 scoops of ice cream?”

                My heart broke. Almost in tears I said, “Yes Sir, let me get you that right away.”

                I walked up to the counter, pulled the three dollars I had made for tips that day, and I purchased this man’s ice cream with my own money. I did it as an act of kindness for a man who had changed my life. I scooped up the ice cream for the man, and brought it to him placing his change on the table discreetly. I went in the back, where I was told to go home. I walked up to the man and told him, “Sir, if I ever see you in here again, it would be my honor to be your server again. My shift is over, so if you need anything, let my manger know.”

                He smiled and thanked me for everything. I smile, nodded, and walked out the doors. And as soon as I was almost a block away, I saw the man walking down the sidewalk the other direction. This man changed my life. I learned I was so wrong to judge, and I am so ashamed that I ever had such thoughts. He taught me how foolish I was to assume he was inferior to me, simply because he had less than I had. I honestly cannot thank this man enough for simply teaching me that. I was so touched by his gentle words and smile. I will never forget him. That day was one of the turning points in my life. I learned one act of kindness, no matter how small, can be life changing.

TranscendentOne TranscendentOne 18-21, M 13 Responses May 31, 2012

Your Response



Thank you for sharing, this story reminds me life is meaningful ... and beautiful much more than just a routine.

Lucky to have read this. Thanks for sharing.

Thank you for the feedback. I am glad you enjoyed it

I also am grateful for your inspirational story of kindness and respect and like others here want to sincerely thank you for your story. It touched me very deeply as I am from that mans era of life and it could have very well been me that the story was about if for the fact I am in more fortunate conditions. What a great lesson from within a few minutes of being judgemental then to acceptance then to respect then to gratefulness of his lesson from him to you and actually to the all of us. Thank you again for taking the time to recount this moving story - may we all learn the lesson so well described

Thank you so much for your feedback. L=

Thank you for sharing and good for you.

I am glad you read it L=

Thank you for allowing your heart to lead. We all know we should never judge others by how they look, but too often many of us do. By not doing so, you let him know he was appreciated....and that's awesome! :-)

Thank you very much L=

Awww very beautiful story and it is emotional :(

Thank you L=

I have heard that there is a lot of fall out from the service guys and girls when they arrive home from their tours of duty unfortunatly the medical profession has limits concerning health and human rights and this has to be assessed on a case by case ba<x>ses this leaves gaps where some people live in an unwell state of mind.<br />
I bought a homeless person a lunch one day and it did make me feel better about his situation.<br />
I guess the point of this. Is my ego felt better when I bought this man, I had judged to be worthy and homeless a lunch. This dose'nt make me sound so wonderful when I analyze my reasons and gratitude..

Yes, yet it was still very kind of you.

You have learned a valuable lesson that some have never learned. Kindness is always the required action. People may be down and out, but they are still humans and need love and caring. It matters not what they look like...Just be nice and this may make all the difference in the world. Remember the saying: there but for the grace of God, go I...I am spiritual, not religious...But I remember hard times and the kindness of strangers in my life. I am grateful always...

So very true. Thank you that.

Thank you for reminding others. And thank you for caring about this kind man. You are a fine man.

It does my heart good to read your story, as I have had a special place in my heart for homeless people for many years. Thank you for sharing your heartwarming story.

Thank you very much.

That was beautiful. I am glad I read what you wrote and I don't think I will every forget it. Thank you.

Thank you very much.

and I was just going to post the question..."isn't there anymore compassion left in this world" you're awsome.

oh, thank you very much. L=

no, thank YOU

That was a touching and inspirational story. Thank you for sharing that. How kind of you for saying those things to him. I hope a lot of people will see this and learn from it. You are a good man

Thank you very much. L=