Random acts of kindness

Students and teachers share experiences of generosity from strangers


Encouraging notes posted on lockers at RHS. Photo by Holly McDonald.

A man sits alone at a cafe in Rochester. Freshman Isabella Olivares and her mom go up to sit with him and offer their company. Olivares thought that she was showing kindness by sitting with a lonely stranger, but this man’s words of kindness returned the favor and changed her life forever.

Random acts of kindness can be found all around, whether it’s a small compliment from a passing student, finding a sticky note left on one’s locker or a large gesture from a stranger.

“My mom and I expected to be the ones performing the act of kindness,” Olivares said. “This, however, was not what happened.”

This stranger offered Olivares help with a situation she was facing at the time.

“He is a holy man who strengthened our relationship with God by reading a few Bible passages and even going as far as recommending passages for me to read,” Olivares said.

“At the time, I was on the waitlist for the International Academy. He explained that God has a plan for me and that everything will work out in the end.”

As college student, media specialist Ms. Julie Harris experienced a random act of kindness that she will never forget.

“My car was broken into and my purse and bookbag were stolen,” Ms. Harris said. “About two weeks later, I received a package in the mail with a lot of my personal papers, ID cards and other things. Someone had found them in an alley behind their apartment building and assumed they were taken, got my address off my cards and sent them back to me.”

Sophomore Moira Yee believes that simple acts of kindness, such as holding a door or giving a compliment, can make someone’s day.

“I would do something like this for someone else because a lot of people just need the extra bit of kindness in their day,” Yee said. “Everyone has their own problems and maybe someone being nice to them could help a little.”

After experiencing a random act of kindness, people are often left with a happy and reassuring feeling.

“I was shocked but then experienced a wave of happiness,” Olivares said. “No one had ever done that for me before and those random acts of kindness aren’t too common in the chaotic world we live in.”

Providing an act of kindness can make someone’s day. Special Education teacher Ms. Amy Cosentino’s kindness helped a stranger go from having a bad day to a great day.

“The older woman in front of me was checking out and she realized that she forgot her wallet at home,”  Ms. Cosentino said. “I looked at the cashier and quietly told her that I would purchase the women’s groceries for her. She ran my credit card before the older woman could say no. When she found out, she was so happy and thankful.”

Science teacher Mrs. Jaclyn Smith believes that showing kindness can improve someone’s day, and she feels it’s very important within the community.

“Having a pleasant conversation with someone can completely make their day,” Mrs. Smith said. “I have had multiple students comment on the fact that often times my positive attitude helps improve their day and since then I try to make sure to be positive as often as possible.”

In an act of kindness, often times people don’t have a chance to thank the person for what they’ve done.

“If I met the person, I’d probably tell them thank you,” Yee said. “I’d tell them to keep being kind to people because you never know what they’re going through.”

Everyone has a different opinion about the importance of kindness. As a teacher, Ms. Cosentino believes that educating students on the significance of kindness will have a positive effect on their lives.

“Kindness is contagious and the best thing a person can do each day,” said Ms. Cosentino. “I try and challenge my students to show simple steps of kindness each day at RHS or out in the community, with the hopes that it becomes a good habit each day.”

Olivares believes that every act of kindness has a special value. In Olivares’s experience, each random act of kindness benefits the world in a positive way.

“After this experience, I had a different outlook on life,” Olivares said. “I understood that true acts of kindness come from the heart and that every situation isn’t as it may seem.”

Moira Yee thinks that random acts of kindness seem more important as people get older. They bring a sense of positivity that can lift someone up on the worst of days.

“As we get older we start to have more issues and worries, and most people I know are always stressed out,” Yee said. “When someone shows kindness, it brings a person up. Sometimes, it can even make them step back from their problems and see that everything will be okay. They might even pass the kindness on to someone else, which is the best thing we can do in the society we’re living in.”

Mrs. Smith feels random acts of kindness can lead to a successful community.

“Kindness is so important. It can even save a life for those who do not experience kindness regularly and those who are looking for a sense of belonging, or feel as though they are not cared for,” Mrs. Smith said. “Life is already hard, so why make it harder by being unkind to one another? When we build each other up, we all succeed.”

Olivares feels confident that taking the time to stop and show kindness to someone else has a great value within society.

“These acts of kindness are what make life special,” Olivares said. “Without them, the world would be a sad place.”