A bottle of water

By Kenneth W. Dion | 08/04/2016
​I was caught totally off guard by 16.9 fluid ounces.​​


I’m back. I was off the grid for a while doing some reflection.
While I was gone, I took time to read the blog entries I have posted over the last several years. Sadly, they have generated very little dialogue, their original intent. I also realized that most of them focused on challenges faced by our society or profession. To say they have been negative is, I hope, too strong. I prefer to say that, in an effort to spawn conversation, I have pointed out challenges.
It may have been the challenges I see at every turn that resulted in my writer’s block, which brought me to this reflection. It would be easy for me to go on a tear about the state of the current electoral process in the United States or cruelties being inflicted around the globe. Either of these topics, as well as many others, could get ugly very fast. Who knows, they might even generate some discussion.
Ugliness seems to be one of the few things that gets people engaged these days. Sadly, getting to the ugliness does not seem to move us to the open and honest dialogue we need to have about so many topics. So, rather than adding to the negativity that abounds, I am using this edition of “Does this strike a chord?” to share a short story of optimism.
I was on a lengthy motorcycle ride recently. For safety, I wore my black leather jacket. To say it made for rapid warming anytime I stopped would be a major understatement. It turns out the route I took, which was desolate, was under repair. At one point, I was stopped in traffic for 45 minutes just before noon hour. I was caught totally off guard when the gentleman in the minivan in front of me stepped out of his vehicle to walk back to my bike. Rather than asking about my bike or complaining about the traffic, he simply handed me a bottle of water and returned to his vehicle without a word.
I was so stunned that the words “Thank you” barely made it to my lips before the door to the minivan closed. I am not sure if the driver even heard me. I vowed I would pay his kindness forward three-fold daily. I would do one thing for a person, one for an animal, and one for the planet. I’m not going to tell you what I have done because that is totally unimportant. What is important is that the world is hurting in a bad way for the type of kindness that was shown to this stranger on a highway.
I shared my story about the minivan driver on Twitter. I asked others to share their stories about being the recipient of a random act of kindness. I did not receive a single like, retweet, comment, or post about that random act of kindness. I can only hope this lack of response has to do with my vast Twitter following. Not! As for me, three random acts of kindness a day don’t seem too much to ask. I may not always be able to complete my three acts of kindness per day, but hope the world will be a better place for my trying.
Have you been the recipient of a random act of kindness lately? Have you paid it forward?
Kenneth W. Dion, PhD, MSN/MBA, RN, founder of Decision Critical, Inc., is treasurer of the board of directors of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International. He is past president of the board of trustees of the Foundation of the National Student Nurses' Association and past chair of the board of directors of Sigma Theta Tau International Foundation for Nursing.
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