2016 election

I, Virginia Bergman, pledge not to vote for a male presidential candidate in 2016 just because he's male.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Acts of Kindness Build Community – Online and Elsewhere

Note: BlogCatalog members have been invited to post today about some act of kindness we’ve performed. The following post is my response to that invitation.

Acts of kindness are easily integrated in the course of our daily lives while doing weekly errands or shopping for special occasions. Regardless of the season, no group of people are more appreciative of a kind word than store employees, and it’s become my practice over the years to thank sales clerks and cashiers at the checkout counter for good service. Sometimes, I even take the time to fill out a commendation card or ask to speak to a supervisor.

One morning as the cashier at my local supermarket checked out my groceries, she paused to examine a package of meat more closely. She’d seen signs of spoilage that I’d missed in my haste to finish my shopping. The fellow at the end of the counter who was bagging up my purchases immediately dashed to the back of the store and replaced the meat for me. These two young people were smiling happily nearby as I commended them to their supervisor.

Customers assisting customers is another opportunity for spreading goodwill. Last August, I was looking for a decorative candle for a birthday gift for my daughter-in-law when another customer approached me. She explained she was visiting here from India, and she wanted to buy her hostess a nice gift. She asked for my advice and together we found a candle that matched the décor of the home where she was staying.

Many of us dread shopping during this time of year when stores are crowded, and people are impatiently standing in long lines. But I’ve found that even under those circumstances goodwill is contagious. Recently, I was back in the supermarket picking up a few last minute items for a cookie baking session. As I walked up and down the aisles, I was soon receiving and giving help to others: “Oh, the baking soda is on your right - right below the baking powder.”

“Have you seen cookie cutters anywhere?”

“Next aisle – over there by the pans and cookie sheets.”

Instead of a bunch of cranky people that day, we were good-naturedly teasing one another, smiling, and laughing as we came to one another’s aid; I left the store feeling as if a group of strangers for half an hour or so had become an ad hoc community.

And community, after all, is what it’s all about – as members of the BlogCatalog virtual community, in our neighborhoods, at church, at our local shopping center, and yes, even as we participate in the political process already heating up in the 2008 campaign.


  1. God bless you for thinking of the employees in the store. I always say, "Hello, how are you?" to them. Sometimes I get nothing, sometimes I get a stunning smile and an answer.

    Rudeness has no excuse.

  2. When we give others their due dignity, we are giving them permission to be themselves. And all communication is better unmasked. This was a really warm post, I enjoyed reading it!

  3. I learned very graphically from my own near death experience the following:
    compassion and kindness for us all. That is it. So my goal every day in as many moments as possible is to look people in the eye with kindness...to see a fellow spirit.
    Sometimes it is an opening and sometimes not, but what an exciting adventure I look forward to going out my door.