Over the years I’ve realized that there is a link between art and kindness. Yes, I said kindness. To produce good art, you are required to possess three main attributes.
3) Willingness to produce the best outcome
I believe these three things also help in real-life situations, in which random acts of kindness are generally conceived. This may seem silly right now, I know, but keep reading…
Here’s my story.
I currently work at a smoothie cafe on a college campus, where we sell overpriced smoothies and flatbreads. Our main population of customers consists of sorority girls and soccer moms, so my days at work are fairly typical. Yesterday has been the only exception. See, we had this man come in, who looked like your typical fraternity guy at first, so I was preparing myself for the usual, “Ummmm, I would like a buffalo chicken wrap, extra buffalo sauce.” Boy, was I wrong…by a long shot. As soon as he approached the counter, I noticed something was different about him. There was a kind look in his eyes, a smile that seemed to never rub off his face, but a physical and mental disability was quite obvious. He had a severe limp, and he could barely speak. He is suffering from cerebral palsy. He attempted to order his favorite smoothie, but didn’t know how to say it. “Man-Man-Mango and Pea-Peac-Peaches.” I hear a snicker in the line behind him, it is a girl old enough to act mature in situations such as this. The boy with cerebral palsy turned red with embarassment, and the smile disappeared. He looked at me as I rang up his order, “Alright, mango and peaches, that will be 5 dollars sir.” I tried my best to keep my composure, overwhelmed by emotions such as anger and helplessness. I felt angry toward the girl, snickering at a condition that can’t be helped, that he has been fighting his entire life. I felt helpless for him. The boy handed me four dollars. “Sir, do you happen to have one more dollar? Your total is five dollars.” The boy checked every pocket, and turned red again as he said, “N-No, just f-f-four.” That is when my manager, who had listened in on the order, walked up from behind me. “Today is your lucky day, sir. We are having a special sale on mango and peach smoothies. For one more hour, they will be 50% off!” She nudged my elbow, gave me a smile and a wink, and snuck 2 dollars and 50 cents of her own money into the cash register. The boy regained his smile, nervously took his change, and said thank you.
It is interesting to me that such a small amount of money turned into such a large glimpse of hope and compassion for a human being in need. The boy, discouraged by the laughter of people behind him, regained his smile because of one simple act.
You see, this is why I relate art with kindness. Patience was the first step. Patience was required to understand the order, to allow him the time he needed. Compassion was the second step. The manager was compassionate enough to understand the situation, and help any way she could after what he endured. And a willingness to produce the best outcome was the final step. We were completely willing to give this boy an easy, memorable moment at a simple smoothie store, that hopefully helped him realize the fact that he is no different than everyone else, despite the hurtful snickers of immature girls.
Art is love, and love should be widespread.
What’s your story?