Humans logo

Read This to Restore Your Faith in Humanity

The most impactful good deeds from my life, and how I try to give back.

By RJPublished 3 years ago 8 min read
Read This to Restore Your Faith in Humanity
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

When I was seven years old, I loved action figures and video games. I liked to play outside, I loved cartoons, and I idolized Robin Hood. What I didn't care for was school. I cared about having friends and recess. But I fell asleep every afternoon in my math book and could barely nail down what sound "Th" made.

My teacher started threatening to put me in a different class for "extra attention." Of course, I protested, I wasn't leaving my friends. I put in hard work to gain even a morsel of popularity. The playground is a dog eat dog world.

By Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Before I was moved, I was given a chance to work with a volunteer during my recess period to learn to read. She was an older black woman that wore scrubs every day and smelt of Vix Vapor Rub. Everyone called her Grandma Brown. In her personal life, she fostered children and helped those in need get back on the right path.

Grandma Brown was tough on me. She drilled me on vocabulary words and assigned sentences for me to go home and memorize. When I didn't follow through and came back stumbling over the same words, she would hold me back from recess another day.

I caught on quickly with Grandma Brown's help. By third grade, I was reading on a fifth-grade level, and by fifth grade, I was on a ninth-grade level. I fell in love with books. The way some authors described life fascinated me.

“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you.

Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

I learned about love from Scott Fitzgerald in the Great Gatsby. Kurt Vonnegut helped me understand time. Carolyn Keene taught me the beauty of a mystery. The Hunger Games showed me what society could devolve into. George Orwell made me realize how powerful satire is. Lemony Snicket taught me the value of family. They all taught me to say something; they made me want to write. Writing is the only occupation or activity I've ever felt at ease doing. It is my purpose and only passion.

You see, with one action- volunteering her time to a seven-year-old kid who didn't care to have it. Grandma Brown changed my life. She taught me to read; she taught me to write. One small action can echo in time forever, yet they're often underrated.

The condition of the world right now makes it easy to overlook the beauty in daily life. So, I'd like to put the good people have done to me and what I try to do for others under a microscope. To show you, and remind me, that humanity is still human.

The Science of Warmth and Energy

People flock to my father. They always have; he's one of those people who can't go out without getting stopped. Sometimes I would ask him why people liked him so much. He told me he always sent warm energy to a new friend, and he would try to find an inside joke- something for just them to share and bond over.

My father is a big proponent of using your energy. He founded this philosophy that he called "The Science of Warmth and Energy." He wrote several letters defining its principals in his notebooks.

I keep the loose idea in my life. I believe being nice can take you very far. For example, I hold the door open for those behind me and try greet everyone with a smile. I try to let strangers know that I see and value them. I make conversation in long lines, and I still send handwritten letters to my friends. I ask what's wrong when someone looks sad, and I want to know their answer. I listen and remember when someone shares something with me; at least I try to.

Okay, enough kissing my own ass. My point is, if you put out a little warmth and try to find common ground, it'll spread and benefit us all.

3 Memories of Good

“He felt that there is a loose balance of good and evil, and that the art of living consists in getting the greatest good out of the greatest evil.”

― Machado de Assis, Iaiá Garcia

By MARK ADRIANE on Unsplash

1. Lost in New York City

By Darian Garcia on Unsplash

My mom purchased me a vacation to New York City for my high school graduation. I grew up in Oklahoma, a very flat state with citizens that live slow. All I knew of NYC was what the movies portrayed, and I wanted so badly to see it for myself. It seemed to represent something. For me, it was a pivotal moment in my life. I loved New York; I felt like no one cared what I was wearing or doing. I could just exist.

However, we did get lost- a lot. One night, my mom and I were looking for a good slice of pizza. We wandered around for about thirty minutes looking for a restaurant our hotel had mentioned. Eventually, discouraged, I asked a man leaning against a building, smoking a cigarette for help.

He had a thick New York accent but was incredibly friendly. "a piece of pizza! You're in New York City; I'll get you the best slice you've eva had!" He then took off into upcoming traffic, yelling, "I'm walking here!" (I thought it was only a cliche). The man walked us straight to the restaurant's front stoop, and we had some amazing pizza.

2. Gift at the Taco Truck

By REVOLT on Unsplash

I frequent my local taco truck, and there is usually a bit of a wait. so on this day, like any other, I waited outside nearby. I struck up a convo with another customer waiting for their food.

I asked how his day was going, and he told me he was visiting from a small town nearby. I told him that was great and gave him some entertainment recommendations. We made small talk for a while, and in passing, he mentioned to me that he was a medical marijuana grower in town to sell some product.

I expressed excitement for him and told him I was a patient and would love to try his product one day. At that moment, his order was called, and he headed off to get it and then to his truck. I continued to wait for my food but felt a tap on my shoulder a few minutes later. It was my new friend; he gave me a handshake and slipped me about an eighth of the most beautiful flower I had ever seen. "That's called dream," he said and got back in his truck before roaring down the road.

3. Advice from Professionals

“I am a believer of butterfly effect. A small positive vibration can change the entire cosmos.”

― Amit Ray, Walking the Path of Compassion

I'm plagued by the curse of perfectionism. It feels like I'm releasing a wounded animal into the wild when I publish an article. It doesn't feel complete. It seems wrong. I struggled with knowing when I was done; my inner turmoil was hindering my creativity.

I decided to ask Kristin Wong, a writer for Glamor magazine and the creator of a writing course titled "Come Write With Us." I sent her an email with a question enclosed.

"How do you know when you're done?"

Receiving a response at all made my day. But the way she responded, with thoughtfulness and grace, meant so much more. Not only did she answer my question, but she soothed my anxiety and obsession with pursuing something impossible. She even invited me to a Facebook group of writers, where I've been able to learn so much.

Kristin breathed life into my aspirations; she planted a seed. She made it a little bit easier to keep writing, keep pushing, and that means more than anyone will ever know.

Parting Words

These may seem like small examples in the grand scheme of life, but they're not. So many moments slip through the cracks of your memory and are gone forever. But some stick, and I can see looking back at the ones that stuck with me that sacrificing your needs for the needs of someone else are cemented in them.

Something as simple as sending an email back, or helping lost tourists, or giving a stranger something of value can do so much. I wouldn't be writing this if someone hadn't volunteered thirty minutes of their afternoon to teach me how to read. I would never have fallen in love with books or storytelling. I may never have found my purpose.

Put out warmth, find some common ground, try and be selfless in the smallest ways. You never know who you're helping.

“Each smallest act of kindness, reverberates across great distances and spans of time --affecting lives unknown to the one who’s generous spirit, was the source of this good echo. Because kindness is passed on and grows each time it’s passed until a simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage, years later, and far away. Likewise, each small meanness, each expression of hatred, each act of evil.”

― Dean Koontz, From the Corner of His Eye


About the Creator


Find me on Instagram at @awriterwhodraws

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.