Foreign Kindness

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This summer I packed my bags, loaded the car, made sure that I had a reasonable stash of Cheez-Itz and made the trek across the border to Canada with my family. Having not been north of the border in over ten years, I was pretty excited mainly because I hardly remembered too much about it. After interacting with a few individuals upon the hotel check-in a thought had started to creep into my head. A notion that I had thought ridiculous and stereotypical but once it was there I could not shake it.

Are Canadians really that much nicer than Americans?

I could not help but feel a little silly for even wondering it but for the following week, every citizen that I was able to interact with did nothing but show me kindness.

It is a way of life. It is a part of the culture. It is incredibly obvious how genuine it is.

On the 8-hour drive back home I had plenty of time to reflect on the question that I had originally asked myself a week earlier. “Are Canadians really that much nicer than Americans”? By my limited experience, the conclusion was yes. This led me to the questions that I would like to ask you.

What is kindness? What does it take to be kind?

What stood out to me was how simple kindness is. It was not that people were doing extravagant things at random. That is not what made my experience so thought provoking. It was the fact that I came to realize everyone that I had interacted with whom was caring and kind were doing it in the most simplistic way possible. They treated everyone like they wanted to be treated. They did favors for others when they didn’t have to. There was no selfishness to be found. Taking two minutes of the day to answer a question, provide information or even do a physical favor was the norm.

It is difficult to get over the hump of the weekend and enter a Monday with high levels of enthusiasm. I think its safe to say that Monday may be the hardest day of the week to find kindness. I urge you be that person that can change someone’s mood today. You do not have to do anything extravagant or life changing. Listen to someone who needs an ear. Run an errand for someone who is feeling overwhelmed. Show the simplistic kindness that we all have the power to show within our hearts.  

-Ben Heydt is a Team Member of The Authenticity Project

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