Battling Unkindness with Kindness in NYC

To the woman who was so angry she chose to drop trash on my friend’s shoulder, thank you.

Thank you for reminding me that my mission is to spread kindness in this world.

Thank you for reminding me that the work I do with my kindergartners is so crucial and for inspiring me to continue to strive to teach them compassion, empathy and humanism.

Thank you for showing me that San Bernardino, Savannah, Georgia, Paris, Beruit, Syria…all of these atrocities that are happening around the world, I may not be able to directly tackle those issues, but I can help contribute to a movement of peace by being kind and compassionate right where I am, right here, right now.

When you grew angry because we politely asked you to move your bags so that my friend could take a seat, thank you. When you continued to show unkindness even after I smiled and expressed my gratitude, thank you. I only wish I had had a chance to ask you how your day was, to ask you what was going on in your life for you to arrive to this point of anger and frustration in the face of a simple request, to connect to you on a life-to-life basis.

I am not right, you are not wrong. I am not better, you are not worse. We are both equal, we both make mistakes, we both have our challenges and our struggles. I only hope that one day you find the kindness that you are looking for and that you have someone in your life that you can connect to.

Until then, I will hold onto our interaction to serve as a reminder of what my goal is as an educator: to teach my students that we are all equal, we are all human, and that each and every one of us is precious.

“Sincerity is the key to transforming distrust into trust, hostility into understanding, and hatred into compassion.” -Daisaku Ikeda