Have kindness, will travel.

Posted February 10, 2015 in Latest News & Insights

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As part of Random Acts of Kindness Week, I asked the Executive Roundtable team for their take on kindness and what it means to them – here’s a great story I think you’ll enjoy! – Glain

18 hours of travel, 7 backpacks, 5 carry-ons, 3 bleary-eyed sleep-deprived tots and their 2 equally exhausted jet-lagged parents plus one shocked dog – we were a sight to behold I’m sure, as we threw ourselves onto the train platform in our new ‘home’. An international career move is a huge undertaking, make no mistake, and of all the things I remember from that day, I remember the kindness of strangers. A lovely couple who were seeing their son off to university took pity on our motley crew and helped us find trolleys for our bags and hailed us two(!) cabs in the local language. Our overseas experience became one huge lesson in the value of kindness.

From our rural village in Canada, we moved to a European city, not too big, not too small, but we lived urban, no car! We were immediately among people, on the streets, in the trams, on trains. We were outsiders, but we had big smiles, were friendly, gave our seats to the elderly, held the doors for the teenagers running for the trams, helped moms with babies, really trying to connect. With kindness I made friends with the grocery clerks, the mailman, my neighbours (even though my German was basic at best!) and through our experiences, the kids learned all about kindness to strangers, a life lesson I hope they always remember. They learned that anywhere we traveled, it was possible to make friends of everyone, from all different cultures and religions and backgrounds – from mountain huts, to the medina, to ancient ruins – just by being friendly, smiley, kind and respectful.

 “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

I think this quote by Mark Twain captures the essence of the kindness we experienced – it has the ability to transcend all barriers. A smile in Toronto is the same as a smile in Tokyo. Helping someone in Halifax is appreciated as much by someone in Haiti, and a compliment to a colleague in Calgary, is still a compliment in Copenhagen. Kindness opens doors, makes friends and breaks down walls. At the core, we all have the capacity for great kindness, and in the end, for great change, at home, in the boardroom and the world. Hold the elevator for someone, treat a co-worker to a coffee, compliment your neighbour, offer help to a stranger – they may seem like small things, but kindness leads to kindness, and it’s an amazing thing!

At The Executive Roundtable, we are fostering this kindness amongst our team during Random Acts of Kindness Week, and we encourage you to do the same – you can make a difference one act at a time – what will you do?


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