Letting Kindness In

Letting Kindness In

Do you find it difficult to let others help you?  I know I do. 

Is it because we want to be independent?  Maybe we feel like we need to show the world that we can do it all on our own?  Or maybe we don’t want to feel indebted to someone? 

Whatever the reason, turning down an act of kindness is rejection.

One time, I was standing in line to buy a carton of milk at a little local grocery store.  Only one cashier was working, and the person in front of me had just started checking out – two carts spilling over with groceries. The customer turned around and noticed me and my solitary carton of milk.  A look of concern flashed across his face as he surveyed his own haul. 

“Oh,” he said, “you only have that one item?”   I nodded and told him, “Yeah, but no worries.  I’m not in a hurry.”  He shook his head, “No, I don’t want you to have to wait; I have so much.  Let me buy your milk.” 

At this point, I was confused.  From the look on the cashier’s face, he was too.  Normally, in these situations, the other customer may let you go first, but he had already started checking out, so that wasn’t an option.  The customer was actually offering to pay for my milk so I could go ahead and leave. 

I must admit, my instinct was to say no; it felt weird to let a stranger spend money on me.  So, I did.  And that’s when he said something that stuck with me. 

“Please, let me do something nice for you today.  It seems like no one ever wants to accept a kind gesture.”

He was right.  I let him buy my milk.

Why was that the right decision?  Let’s look at the impact. 


  • Everyone got a jolt of happiness.  The giver because he did something nice.  The receiver because I didn’t have to wait in line and scored some free milk.  The cashier because he witnessed an act of kindness.
  • That one act started a chain of kind action, a ripple effect.  The giver was happy he could do something kind; he will likely repeat a kind act in the future.  As a receiver, it made me want to give back and instigated me to do something kind for someone else. 

Saying no would have been a dead end.  It would have thwarted the chain reaction a kind act ignites.  Next time someone offers to do something kind for you, consider the positivity it creates to accept it, enjoy the kindness, and pay it forward. 

Is there a time someone offered to help and you said no? Why?


  • Mairi says:

    This is so true – for someone who loves to give and do kind acts for friends & strangers I do find it difficult to accept a kind gesture. Thank you for pointing out (something that seems obvious now) that it is an act of kindness to receive an act of kindness and a win win situation all round! X

    • Patricia Makatsaria says:

      Glad this resonated with you. Drop me a line when you do say yes – can’t wait to hear about the help you receive. 🙂

  • Karen says:

    This is So true , why do I automatically say “ no thanks , I’m fine “ when I’m clearly not . While carrying heavy bags lately a man in the lift offered to help me carry to my door, “ I’m fine but thanks “ I said as I almost pulled a shoulder muscle to make it on my own . Stupid right ?? But it just came out of my mouth .

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