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2010-09-16 digital edition

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2010-09-16 / General Stories

Random Acts and Tacos

To the man who reached out and gave me a taco. thank you!

People in every city and town, all over the world perform random acts of kindness every day. These acts are random which means they can happen to anyone at any time. The kindness bestowed is random as well.

However, those that perform these acts are not random. You know the one or two people in your life who would bake a pie and drop it off at your house even when it isn’t your birthday. They would totally get it when you are “in a mood” and do something that makes you smile. These people perform random acts of kindness on a regular basis; which would make those acts. not random, I guess.

They are not performing the act of being kind. They simply are kind. all the time.

I was sitting in a Taco Bell with my son today when a man approached our table and said, “Excuse me.” I looked up. “I don’t mean to interrupt but” and somehow he got sidetracked (I suspect ADD) and made a joke, “are you gonna eat that?”

He seemed so serious at first that I looked down to see what part of my meal I was going to have to give up. Because if someone is desperate enough to walk up to a total stranger and ask for their food, he needs it more than I do. He immediately smiled, though, and said, “Just kidding. Would you like this taco?” He held out a paper-wrapped taco with a questioning look on his face.

The look on my face must’ve broadcast suspicion because he started babbling about how there was nothing wrong with it. honest. “I didn’t do anything to it,” which, of course, made me think he did do something to it. Who gives perfectly good tacos to total strangers?

If this was the elusive “random act of kindness” I keep hearing about, he was really bad at it. I took pity on him, though, thanked him, and took the taco, mostly because I didn’t want him to fail at something at which he was obviously a rookie.

My chalupa supreme had already begun to fill the holes in my hunger, but I thought I would take the taco home to my husband.

On the way home, I made a promise to myself: If I ever decide to try a random act of kindness, I would not start with a taco. But again, I suppose that deciding to do it would make it no longer random. You simply have to do it when the urge hits you. If you happen to be holding a spare taco at the time, well, I guess that’s about as random as it gets.

I can only hope that when the urge hits me, I’m not holding a dead trout or my son’s boxer shorts. Of course, that would not be considered a kindness. Trying to pawn off a dead fish or sweaty undergarments on a stranger would be considered an assault, I think, not a kindness. So. it wouldn’t count.

Let’s recap. To perform a random act of kindness correctly, one cannot plan it or decide to do it.

If the urge strikes to give a stranger something, you must resist that urge if said something is, in any way, repulsive.

If the act benefits you in any way, it doesn’t qualify. Like, if watching another episode of Deadliest Catch prompts you to give your husband’s big-screen TV to a homeless man?... It doesn’t qualify.

If, after the act is performed, you feel warm and tingly inside and have a smile on your face all day, you can be pretty sure you’ve done it correctly.

Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author & speaker. You can reach Laura at lsnyder@lauraonlife.com Or visit her website www.lauraonlife.com for more info.

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