In my recent trip to Phoenix, I had time in airports to observe people as I waited for my flights. What I noticed wasn't something new to me. It's just that somehow it struck me in a different way this time.
I observed a real difference in how people respond to kindness. Someone opened a door for another person or let someone else go ahead in line. Another person offered to lift someone's bag into the overhead bin on the plane. You know, those random acts of kindness that we see every day—and that, I hope, we also do often.
Sometimes the receiver stopped to thank the person who offered a seat or opened the door. Other times the receiver simply walked through the door, never even acknowledging the person who opened it for him or her much less thanking for the favor.
It could be simply that the person who received the act of kindness was rude or felt entitled. That can sometimes be the case. But I wonder if it isn't often just a matter of the receiver not paying attention. Being on auto pilot and not even noticing others and what's going on around them.
Perhaps it's as much about staying awake and aware, staying present, being grounded "in the now," as it is about rudeness or entitlement.
I know it was a reminder to me to stay "in the now." It was another wake-up call for me to not live in the past or in the future—but to keep my feet firmly planted right here, right now.