Lessons In Kindness From A 5-Year Old
One beautiful morning, I was having breakfast with my 5-year-old son, Finn. I noticed our waitress walking toward us and thought to myself, she needs to smile. She hardly said hello and hurriedly took our drink order.
We both noticed that her mouth was wired shut. My son asked me why her mouth looked that way, and I told him the few cosmetic reasons why someone would need their mouth wired. Then he looked at me with his big, cute eyes and told me to ask her why.
When she dropped the drinks, Finn gave me the ASK HER stare, and when I finally did her answer shocked us both.
A few weeks earlier she was waiting for a bus early in the morning when the next thing she remembered was waking up in the hospital with a broken jaw, broken chin and missing teeth. She fainted and hit her head. We talked about her accident, coming back to work and the medication she was on. The three of us had a wonderful conversation. Throughout our breakfast, Finn asked several caring questions, like why she wasn’t in bed with her mom making her soup.
We made sure to say goodbye and thanked her for waiting on us. But the most beautiful request came out of my 5 year old’s mouth, “Mommy, we should bring her back flowers.” I agreed immediately. We drove over to the local florist, and Finn picked out the flowers (and when the waitress heard what he was doing, she even gave us a discount!).
He was ecstatic walking into the restaurant with a bouquet bigger then he was, searching for our waitress. The waitress almost walked right by him before he said, “Excuse me, these are for you.” I will never forget the look on her face, from a blank stare to shocked – she bent down for him to hand her the flowers and tears were running down her face as she thanked him and gave him a big hug. I noticed the tables around us were all smiling watching this random act of kindness, and I hope my 5-year-old taught them all a very valuable lesson.
He was happy that he made her happy, and I was so happy that he felt good about doing something that was the right thing to do. That day reminded me of the importance of leading by example.
This essay was written and shared with love by Marni Rivera, proud mom, Kindness Activist, and founder of the inspiring website Kindness U!
Meet Marni Rivera of KindnessU
“How does what you do for a living help bring happiness, success, peace, love and/or support to a large section of people in society?”
I was asked this question recently and love that it measures accomplishments by their impact on others. I immediately embraced it as a Marni-ism. From the time I was a child, I have always sought out any endeavor where I could impact my family, community and world beyond. I still do.
Here are some other facts about me that help explain KU:
- I see potential in Humanity
- Not everyone calls me Marni. 4 small people call me mom. Sometimes they shout it up the stairs or from the sidelines of their sports when I’m not fast enough with the Gatorade. I call them Elijah, Wynter, Jonah and Finley.
- I love all kids, not just my own. I’m a Godmother to two, namesake to five, and am fondly called “Yellow Mommy” by the kids at my children’s preschool, thanks to my blond hair.
- I’m obsessed with inspirational books. My husband tells my sisters (after having a conversation with them about an issue), “Oh, don’t mention it to Marni; you will have a book delivered on it tomorrow!”
- I see opportunity in crisis. During the mortgage meltdown, I built a mortgage company based 100% on referrals. In another life I might have been a firefighter because I like to run towards the flames in life.
- I never sit. But I do sit on a board. The Oaklove Foundation provides community support to underprivileged women and children. I also believe in volunteerism and have clocked a lot of hours for causes I care about.
When I am gone, I want people to remember a cool lady who made it fun to do nice things for others. I am truly honored to be a part of the Kindness movement, and believe my God-given gift is to spread these messages worldwide. Let’s all use technology for its greatest good: to help the next generation create habits for a better life and a better world.