A few years ago when I had extra money to play around with, I would leave envelopes with money at bus stops and in terminals for people to find in hopes it would make their days a bit better. Sometimes I would even draw little cartoons or a nice message and include it in the envelope. I liked doing it most around the holidays because people are usually short on cash, and while I had next to nothing myself, I knew there were people who had it a little worse than I did. Also, I can’t imagine riding the bus in winter is anything to write home about, so hopefully a nice gesture would warm things up a bit.
I never waited for any of their reactions. I didn’t want them to feel obligated to put on some big performance for me to show their gratitude. I wanted to be discrete and not invade anyone’s personal space, so I usually just taped them inside the terminals. I made sure to draw a nice greeting on the envelope that would not bring suspicion to people thinking it was something like anthrax or a bomb threat. Around Christmas I got a bit more personal. I would hand someone waiting for the bus an envelope, tell them happy holidays and then walk off without looking back.
Sometimes I wish that I would have waited to see what people did or how they reacted, but part of me was scared they would assume I figured them some charity case I needed to hand money to in order to fulfill some good deed to make myself feel like a decent human being. I tried not to even tell many people about what I was doing in fear that they would assume I was executing the most annoying of humble brags, but in reality maybe it’s actually a good thing to show people you care about your fellow human beings, maybe it will initiate something to show all of us that we need to start taking care of each other and any little bit helps.
Now I don’t have much money to give because like most people my age I am slammed with student loan debt and barely getting by, so instead I buy a bunch of lottery tickets and stick them at gas pumps or at bus stops. It’s not an envelope of money, but I figure if I was paying upwards of $4 a gallon for gas and saw a lottery ticket on my pump I’d be a little less sad about that whole scenario. I use black tape to tape the lotto tickets to the pumps and whatnot so I can use a silver Sharpie and draw a fun little message and of course a cartoon.
It doesn’t take an extravagant gesture to put a smile on someone’s face or turn their day around. A simple hello or a smile will do just fine, you don’t even have to spend a dime. People tend to forget the world is full of goodness because mayhem and disaster tend to over-saturate our culture. I think we are so often misrepresented by our weakest parts to the point we begin forgetting that anything positive exists out there. My grandmother used to tell me that every garden was full of weeds, but if worry only about the weeds and what they’re capable of you’ll miss the flowers. We forget to see the good in each other because we are so frightened by the ugly things we are all capable of. But there is beauty and decency in the world that exceeds any terrible deed that we are capable of, and more people should try to remind the world of that.
ENDNOTES: Writing Tumblr: lucyquin.tumblr.com
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