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A Nonfiction Column
By Willie Elliott

Acts of Kindness

One of my favorite things to do is shop the Goodwills, thrift stores and used-book stores for bargains in books. In many Goodwills you can have any book on the shelves for fifty cents. In many cases the list price for the book could easily be near thirty dollars.

Of course one is going to pick up a lot of books that way, but we have a terrific book store in the county next to us Words-N-Stuff that will take your books in trade. So I take all my read books and head out and feel like a kid in a candy store. All this to tell you about a a book I found in one of these place. I probably got it for fifty cents. More Random Acts of Kindness by the editors of Conari Press.

The first story will give you an idea of what all the selections are like:

“A number of years back, my six-year-old son and I had gone shopping at one of the giant discount toy stores with toys piled to the ceiling. We had just come around the corner of a aisle when I saw a young, long-haired bearded man in a wheelchair. He must have been in some terrible accident because both of his legs were missing and his face was badly scarred. Just then my sis-year-old saw him and said in a loud voice, 'look at that man Momma.'

“I did the normal mother thing and tried to hush my son, telling him it was not polite to point, but my son gave a hard tug, broke free from my hand, and went running down the aisle to the man in the wheelchair. He stood right in front of him and said in loud voice, 'What a cool dude earing, man. Where did you get such a neat earring?'

The young man broke into a grin that lit up his face. He was so taken aback by the compliment that he just flowed with happiness, and the two of them stood there talking about his earring and other 'cool stuff.' It made a life-long impression on me. For I had seen a horribly scarred man in a wheelchair, but my six-year-old saw a man with cool dude earrings.

The book is filled with inspirational stories like this one and each page has a quote that suggests to truly live one must be of service to his fellow man. Two examples will give the reader an ideas of the theme of these quotes: “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, What have you done for others”--Martin Luther King, Jr. and “Whatever we do for someone else we do because it fulfills a need we have.”--M. Scott Peck.

The book can be read in one sitting, but it is better to pick it up when one is down in the dumps. The mood will soon change. After reading a few of the stories, instances of people doing random acts of kindness for you come to mind and the world doesn't seem as mean and vicious as before. This is a terrific little book to have by your bedside. So head out today to the used books outlet and try to find one. If you can't you are sure to find something that will intrigue and entertain you.

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