Over the last many months, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered almost every aspect of our everyday lives – how we interact, how we shop, how we school, and how we work.
In some cases, those changes are small: we wear masks to protect others, we work and study from home, we trade in-person gatherings for virtual. Human-to-human contact has been limited to one’s immediate family. Hugs, handshakes, and random interactions with strangers have temporarily been shelved until it is safer to do so.
Yet, even with all this, we can show one another acts of kindness from a distance. In fact, acts of kindness are more vital than ever.
In spite of our individual differences, love has and always will prevail. Let’s say that one more time: love has and always will prevail. Love, and kindness. Kindness is in all of us and its power cannot be measured. Every person has the ability to offer it. And the greatest thing about kindness is that it doesn’t have to cost a cent.
Investing a minute to do something nice for someone else, not only benefits two people, it has the potential to touch the entire planet. You do something kind for a stranger, that stranger pays that kindness forward. And so on.
As an ode to this magical concept, let me introduce you to our new series: Creative Ways to Pay Kindness Forward.
We shall start at the supermarket. The one place during these unprecedented times where we all willingly strap on that mask to refill our necessities. We gather there to stock up on the few items that will get us through quarantine, cookies, ketchup chips and almond milk… not necessarily in that order.
Here are seven creative ways to pay kindness forward in the supermarket.
1. If you’re finished using your cart, pass it on to another shopper, coin in
I have personally done this numerous times and it always catches unsuspected shoppers off guard. Sometimes they try to chase me down to return the dollar or quarter, other times, they stand there dumbfounded. Such a simple act that always has me walking away with a smile.
2. Let someone ahead of you in the checkout line
This one can seem so trivial, but time is our greatest commodity. Offering a few of your precious minutes to a stranger means you are putting them before you. That gesture alone can go along way.
3. Gift your cashier a treat to thank them for all their hard work
2020 has suddenly catapulted being a store clerk onto the list of “most dangerous jobs”. Lifting boxes and restocking shelves while donning a mask is no easy feat. Cashiers having to deal with endless lines of shoppers means putting themselves into possible harm’s way. Why not show our appreciation to those who help us continue to put food on our tables. Might I suggest some fresh flowers (see https://canadaloves.ca/from-tulips-to-tears/) or a wrapped sweet treat.
4. Add some non-perishables to your shopping list
Before the pandemic, food banks, pantries and meal programs already battled the difficulty of keeping their shelves stocked. Enter COVID-19 and the battle just got even harder. Donations are declining, and food banks are facing an increase in people who need a helping hand. With more mouths to feed, shelters and help centers are scrambling to meet the demand for meals. Why not create some win-win’s and donate.
5. Surprise another shopper by paying for their groceries
Some of us take for granted the comfort of being able to add whatever it is we want into our shopping carts. We aren’t burdened with the stress of having to ask the cashier to remove items from our shopping list. More and more of us are suffering the economic effects of the pandemic which has left many without jobs. Pay kindness forward by picking up a stranger’s grocery tab.
6. Grab some essentials for a senior, healthcare worker or your neighbour
Recently, a good friend of mine dropped off a bag of rice because rice was difficult to come by and he happened to see it at the supermarket. That kind gesture had me paying it forward by donating to my local hospital’s PPE fund. Grab some extra toilet paper and milk for someone either because they need it, or just because. Let them know that they are not forgotten and that we are thankful for them. Because if COVID has taught us anything, it’s that human connection (virtual or not) is often taken for granted, even though it has the power to change our lives.
7. Pick up lunch for someone who could use a helping hand
With unemployment rates soaring this year, the number of people forced onto the streets is on the rise. And it will continue to rise. And since most of us rarely go outside anymore, the homeless population is losing out on strangers randomly offering them a meal on the street. If you live in a busy area, why not add a sandwich and some fruit into your shopping basket and offer it someone who is down on their luck?
And so, my friends, I hope the next time you have to run to your local grocery store, this article pops into your mind. Let’s spread that kindness around and pay it forward so that maybe, just maybe, someone on the other side of the world can benefit.