When you practice doling out random acts of kindness, you may never know how your actions have affected others. But sometimes, that small act is just enough to have an incredible ripple effect on the world around you. Sometimes, you can even save a life by doing something simple like buying someone’s breakfast for them.
Glen Oliver of Pickering, Ontario, Canada learned the true value of doing something nice for a stranger after he made a small, kind gesture that ended up being the driving force for a stranger to reassess their will to live.
Glen was going through the drive-thru at his local Tim Hortons when he decided to pay for the car behind him, something he does routinely just to be nice. He told the cashier to tell the man that his breakfast was on Glen, and be sure to tell him to “have a great day.”
A few months later, local newspaper NewsDurham received an anonymous letter in the newsroom. In the letter, a local resident told the story of how they’d chosen one day in July to be their last day on earth. They explained that they were suicidal and could think of no reason to go on. They decided to pick up coffee and a muffin at Tim Horton’s before heading home to take their own life, but that’s when fate intervened.
Glen’s kind act encouraged the suicidal person to carry on for just a little longer. Instead of killing themselves that day, they decided to go out and try to “pay it forward” by helping someone else, so they spent the day helping their neighbor bring in her groceries.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” they wrote in his letter, “and know your kind gesture has truly saved a life … On July 18, 2017, I not only had a great day, I had the greatest day!”
“Why me? Why today?” The letter read. “If I was a religious sort I would take this as a sign. This random act of kindness was directed at me on this day for a purpose.”
When Glen read the story in the paper, he knew that he had been the stranger in the SUV who bought the man his breakfast that day. While he was blown away that his small act of kindness had had such a profound result, he remains humble about his part in the story.
“You never know the impact it will have on someone until you hear their story,” he said. “Like such a small, insignificant thing to most people just turned out to be… the planets align for somebody.”
Glen’s unknown, formerly-suicidal neighbor told the newspaper that now they find ways every day to do something nice for someone else, a tactic that has “enriched my life in more ways than I could’ve imagined.”
What an incredible reminder that even the smallest act of kindness can mean so much. Be sure to share this story to encourage everyone to “pay it forward” whenever possible!