Easy ways to be nice (PLEASE contribute)

So tonight I was taking a jog along Ft. Lauderdale Beach. I was going at a good clip, cruising along, when I spotted a couple trying to take a photo of themselves in front of the beautiful orange-pink sunset. It was the scene where the two squeeze as close as possible, and the guy holds the camera in front. Half the time it works, half the time it takes three or four tries.

Anyhow, even though I was running and happy, I stopped. “You want me to take the picture for you?” I asked. They gladly accepted.

Same scene happened a few minutes later—again, I took the photo.

Both couples were most grateful, and even though it was slightly annoying to stop running, I felt good about the scenario. In the easiest was possible, I made people happy.

It got me thinking—why not compose a list, EASY WAYS TO MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY. Here are a couple of things I do. Please contribute your own to the Comments Section:

1. Take photos for people.

2. Always take a flyer from people handing them out: No, I usually don’t want ’em. But this person’s sole task is handing out pieces of paper. What’s the harm in taking one? Factually, it makes the person’s job slightly easier.

3. Pick up trash that’s not yours: I’m not saying everything. Or most things. But we have this weird belief system in this country, where if trash on the ground isn’t from you, you’re allowed to walk by and ignore it. Why? So the poor dude making $8 an hour can get it?

Hmm … those are three that pop into my head. Would love to hear yours …

PS: Yes, that’s a banana shake. Sure, you can have a sip.

17 thoughts on “Easy ways to be nice (PLEASE contribute)”

  1. Let someone who has just a couple of groceries butt in front of you…if you’re last in line and you have considerably more stuff than that other person.

  2. Hold doors open for people — and not just the foxy! Also for the elderly, the pregnant, the stroller-pushing. It absolutely *astonishes* people and requires literally no more effort than standing in place for an extra moment.

  3. hold the freakn door for people. Everyday walking into or out of work I hold doors for people, pretty much all say thank you but not too many hold it for me if they get there first.

  4. Here are 3 quick ones off the top of my head:
    1. Every once in a while, pay the toll at the toll booth for the stranger behind you. Just a random kindness that will be appreciated.
    2. Compliment a co-worker. On anything. They will appreciate it, especially if they’re having a crappy day.
    3. Give up your seat on the subway/train for an older person. A tiny thing that costs you nothing, but may mean a lot to them.

  5. Just a few weeks ago, someone turned me on to this:

    A lot of times when someone says “Thank you!”, instead of responding properly with “You’re welcome!”, we think it’s cool to say “No problem.”

    Well, “You’re welcome” sounds a lot more warm and welcoming — and human — than the too-cool/ironic “No problem.” … so stop saying “No problem” and say “You’re welcome!”

    Hope that doesn’t turn out to be a problem.

  6. Done the picture thing too.
    Agree with the smile folks too many frowns out there.
    Along the lines of the litter. When in a store and something is not where it belongs (especially the floor) put it where it does.

  7. a lot of the ones i like to do are mentioned, but also

    thank the bus driver when you get off a bus, i often get a wave of acknowledgment when they pull away … its cool

    if a couple have been split up by the airline when flying, offer to swap seats

    if asked directions by a tourist/out of towner, smile and be as helpful as you can, helps give a more positive impression of where you live (even if you yourself are visiting, try to wing it or do the best you can)

    I dislike being called sir in supermarkets/convenience stores (its just too automaton), so I always say “you don’t have to call me sir, I’m not that old” and then it is easier to have an actual conversation with them, and often gets a smile out of them too, probably helps to break up their crappy day as well

    and finally I urge some of you to read some articles coming out of my home country New Zealand and the earthquake there – armies of volunteers of university students and others are heading to the suburbs of Christchurch to help with the clean up, just a small part of what is going on there, – humbling, but it is all a part of humanity

    I live in the UK, and wish I could be back there to help but can’t!

  8. Return one or two stray shopping carts to the corral when you’re at the local market or big box super retail store. This one is akin to picking up trash that isn’t yours.

    1. Another one I thought of today while returning my rental car—clean out your rental car before leaving it. NOBODY does this, and many of the agencies don’t even have trash cans by the return stations. By why leave all your shit for some guy making $9 an hour to clean up? Takes five mins, max.

  9. As parents I think we can relate to when someone does something for our kids. A friend was going to Philadelphia with his family and I recommended the Eastern States Penitentiary. His son really loved it and my friend thanked me for the enjoyable experience his son had. There are other examples of this.

  10. I always take photos, that’s a great one….but my other ‘must’ is I always buy lemonade from kids, and smile at their parents….this is how future salespeople are made!

  11. A couple of times in the past year after receiving exceptional service at a restaurant; I’ve made sure to tell the manager that their staff was doing an excellent job. I feel that people are quick to complain when service is bad but rarely take the time to compliment a good experience. This is not done in lieu of an appropriate gratuity but just to bring to the attention of a manager that they have good people working for them.

  12. If a person replies quickly to your email, thank for being so prompt. Take a second to look the checkout clerk in the eye, smile, and say thank you such good service or thanks for helping through my crappy day, etc.

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