Recently I had “one of those days.” You know the kind of day where you just get off on the wrong foot and everything seems to continue to spiral downward after the first unfortunate incident. Well when I thought the looming rain cloud would never stop following me around, it was a random act of kindness that had a 180 effect on me, changing my mood and perspective.
To give you some background on my less than perfect start to the day, I was stuck in a tortuous commute to work like countless others, but it took me twice as long to get to the office. I sat in my car irritated with my highly sensitive and low tolerance for the drivers around me. My impatience continued to climb as I sat there and pinpointed all the drexters (people who drive and text) which only added fuel to my fire. When I finally got to work, I just couldn’t shake off the negative energy. My to-do list was building but it was beginning to feel like it was going to be an unproductive morning, which added to my discontent.
Lunch time finally rolled around and I stepped outside for some fresh air. I sat down on a bench under a tree, took a deep breath buried my face into my phone hoping to shake off the first half of the day. All of a sudden, the head of a Golden Retriever blocked my phone resting his head onto my lap. Of course I was surprised but instantly a smile came over my face and calmness replaced my negative energy. His name was Patrick and he was a Hospice therapy dog. His trainer said he wanted to come over and say hello. Patrick and I became friends quickly and I couldn't have been more thankful for this random act of kindness. Patrick knew I needed a pick me up and thanks to him, I felt renewed and ready to make it a great day.
I’m sure many of you would tell me don’t let a single event like bad traffic affect your day, that all of us have bad days. Or that Patrick is a dog and of course he just wanted to play. I get it. Trust me. But the point is it took another pleasant experience to change my thought process and break the negative cycle. Most of us follow a schedule seeing people and the activities as nuances and unpleasant experiences that disrupt our routines. But what if we were all a little more aware of our thinking? We could change it and not let mundane, every day things like traffic upset us. It might be easier said than done, but something to think about (pun intended).
In honor of Patrick, pay it forward. If you’re having a rough morning or something happened that is a threat to your mood or day, try doing something nice for someone else. Everyone has bad days. Do yourself and others a favor and make someone’s day with a random act of kindness and break the cycle – it can be very powerful.
I also recommend watching David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech: This is Water.