Do You Practice Creative Kindness?

Not long ago, during a Southwest flight from Portland, Oregon to Chicago, Illinois, I sang “Happy Birthday” to a woman named Linda.  Thing is, I have never met Linda.

Here’s how that happened:

Image of Southwest Airlines planeIn a moment of mystery, the flight attendant requested all passengers at window seats to please close their window shades. She then asked everyone to press the call button above our seats—an act normally discouraged except under the direst circumstances. Next, the cabin lights dimmed. Finally, having built the suspense to the level she wanted, the attendant announced it was Linda’s birthday and invited us all to sing “Happy Birthday.”

Of course we did!

Afterward, the attendant asked us to extinguish our call button “candles.” It was such a fun, unexpected experience of good cheer and community. Later, I saw Linda exiting the plane. She was beaming and there were smiles all around. I left that flight feeling upbeat and very positive about Southwest Airlines.

It was a perfect moment of creative kindness at work. It cost nothing except a few minutes of time, yet it turned a plane full of strangers into a temporary community and built good feelings about Southwest as a service organization.

We Don’t Have to Wait for Special Occasions to Practice Creative Kindness

It doesn’t matter if no one is having a birthday today. The desire to do something nice for another person and a little thoughtfulness is all that is required to practice creative kindness. Get it the habit of looking for ways you can brighten the day for others, and you’ll soon come up with many ideas. Best of all, kindness tends to be infectious. When one person goes out of their way to be kind, others are often inspired to follow suit.

Do You Have a Story about a Creative Act of Kindness?

We’d love to hear it! Please share what happened in the comment section below—being careful to protect people’s confidentiality as appropriate, of course.


Image source: Dylan Ashe from San Jose, USA – Into The Blue. From Wikimedia Commons

About Cindy Heilman

Cindy is the founder and owner of Kind Dining®, which she began in 2006. She’s traveled across the country and Canada working with and training senior living communities that want to create an exceptional dining experience for their residents and staff. In addition, she certifies select professionals in her Kind Dining® philosophy and provides tools, now in an eLearning format, that make learning stick and help people put insights into action. As a result of her work, clients often share their staff has a new sense of purpose, get along better and keep their focus and energy on what matters most. In fact, she wrote a book, Hospitality for Boomers on how to attract residents and keep good team members. In her free time, she enjoys walking Oregon trails and cheering on her favorite soccer teams, the Portland Thorns and Timbers.

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