The other day, I was on my typical subway commute to work. I commute into Manhattan from the the Brooklyn/Queens area, so the trains can get extremely overcrowded if I catch them at the wrong time.
That morning in particular, I managed to get lucky with getting a seat. I gladly sat down and enjoyed the luxury of not having to hang onto the pole while being sandwiched between hordes of people.
After each stop, the train became a little more packed as more people were entering. I sat there, reveling in the joy of not being one of those people — That was until a pregnant woman stepped on the train. I saw her immediately, looked at the person sitting next to me on my left and my right, both seemingly un-phased. I made eye contact with the pregnant woman and silently mouthed “Want to sit?”, while pointing to my seat. She accepted the offer, sat down, smiled, and graciously thanked me.
So, I stood there, sandwiched between those hordes of people, which I had earlier dreaded. But, I felt no ounce of regret for giving up my seat. I just smiled. And then, I thought about all of the people who weren’t readily willing to also offer their seat. It was only me.
I ask myself, “What ever happened to random acts of kindness?” Even with the subway conductor announcements, people still refuse to show any courtesy. And that’s AFTER being told to do so.
The fact that we even need someone to tell us something that seems like common knowledge, such as “Let passengers off the train first” or “Give up your seat for an elderly, disabled, or pregnant person”, is enough proof that we don’t consider other people before ourselves.
We all like to think that it’s human nature to help out one another, but that is becoming more and more uncommon these days.
If we all individually took more action in making even the smallest difference in our day to day lives, we’ll see collective and radical results.
So, be the person who gives up your seat on the subway.
Be the person who smiles.
Be the person who holds the door open for someone.
Be the person who says please and thank you.
Be the person who tips a little extra.
It doesn’t take much energy to do these small things. And these random acts of kindness can go a long way. You may think it doesn’t make a difference, but in the long run, it really does.
Originally published at thoughtcatalog.com on November 9, 2017.