About 15 years ago, during a trip to Florida on an oppressively hot August day, I was dispatched to the local super market to get an ingredient for dinner. As I approached the entrance an older gentleman was heading toward his car. He was using his shopping cart more like a walker then a transporter of grocery items.
I noticed his car had a Purple Heart license plates I walked over to him and said, “Thank your for your sacrifice and service.” He literally started to cry, commenting that he had the plates for about 10 years and I was the first one ever to comment on them. In the ensuing conversation he disclosed he was wounded during the invasion of Guadalcanal and was also awarded the Bronze Star.
Starting on that eventful day I approached every veteran I could identify by sticking out my hand and saying, “Thanks for your service.” In the ensuing years everyone recipient would say, “thank you,” and frequently a nice conversation would follow.
When Viet Nam vets returned home they were treated with disdain. They didn’t dare wear their uniforms in public because people would curse at them and frequently they were spit upon.
I am of the opinion that irrespective of our personal opinions of the military and wars we owe a debt of thanks to those who severed, especially those who put their lives on the line. If I can identify a Viet Nam veteran I shake their hand and say, “Welcome home and thank you for your service.”
What is a Random Act of Kindness?
A random act of kindness is simply a deed we do to give pleasure to someone else with no expectation of anything in return. Thanking a vet is just one example, however, the kindness universe is infinite.
We humans tend to complain frequently and give accolades rarely. Have you ever complained to the manager of a restaurant that the meat was overcooked and the server was impolite? Thinking positively rather than negatively the comment could be, both your food and service was great.
The pervasiveness of a lack of positive feedback was driven home during my master’s graduation at Monmouth University. The then New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean was the keynote speaker. He started his presentation with the question, “How many of you know this is the year of the teacher?” Many people, especially students, raised there hand. He then asked, “For everyone, not just graduates, how many of you have had a teacher who made a meaningful impact or change in your life?” Almost everyone raised their hand. Next question from Governor Kean was, ‘How many of you ever took the time to thank teachers who had a meaningful impact on your life?” Almost no one raised their hand.
There is an important point here, just because someone is doing an outstanding job doesn’t mean they wouldn’t appreciate a pat on the back.
What Does This Have to do with Ham Radio?
Nothing and everything. Courtesy doesn’t have starting and ending boundaries. Have you ever thanked anyone who helped you with a difficult point when you were preparing for you license? How about a speaker of at a meeting? Almost everyone applauds the speaker but there is nothing like going up to the speaker and saying, “Great presentation, I learned a lot.” How about thanking the outgoing officers of your club, the publisher of your club’s newsletter or the person who makes the snacks at meetings?
My father’s mantra was, “The measure of a person is how they interact with someone who can do nothing for them in return. I think he was talking about random acts of kindness.
One last thought. Place a phone call to a couple of your ham radio friends and simply tell them, “Since I’ve met you I am enjoying ham radio much more which carries over to the quality of my life.”
Thanking or complementing someone will make you happy and possibly make the recipient’s day. It’s a win-win deal.