It’s the holiday season and one of my new favorite movies is “Meet John Doe.” The premise of the movie is a “grassroots” campaign of kindness and good neighborly behaviors that grows exponentially as people remove their biases and perceptions and reach out to really know, understand and help their neighbors. To be kind, first. Below are some of the best lines from the movie which we may find asking ourselves at some point during the holiday season, regardless of the religiosity of origin.
Now, why can’t that spirit, that same warm Christmas spirit last the whole year round?
Gosh, if it ever did, if each and every John Doe would make that spirit last three hundred and sixty-five days out of the year,
we’d develop such a strength, we’d create such a tidal wave of good will, that no human force could stand against it. – Meet John Doe Full Movie Script
Things haven’t changed much in the 73 (yes, 73 years!) since the movie was made. Neighbors may still not know each other, and we are bombarded so much by darkness that we can sometimes forget how powerful kindness can be.
As many of my readers, colleagues and clients may know, my husband and I are moving to Colorado next year. I am downsizing the house as I build my transportable business. I honestly don’t use Facebook as much as other social media tools for my business but I have found several Facebook groups on which to sell our household items. One particular group has 4300 members, mostly women, and a lovely diverse group of women of all ages, professions, and lifestyles!
The selling is easy. You post an item with a picture and a price. Buyers type “INT” (interested). Transactions are mostly “PPU” (porch pick up) and money is left in mail slots or under the mat. Communication is all done by PM (personal messaging through FB). I have sold at least 50 items and not once has someone not paid or not shown up. I have never felt unsafe or threatened. Conversely, through the PMs, I have met hundreds of stay at home moms, caregivers, aunts, nieces, grandmothers, newlyweds, singletons, and busy professionals juggling motherhood and a job who are just like most of us, trying to have a wonderful life.
In essence, through Facebook, I have become connected with my neighbors and community who continually restore my faith in the overall goodness of the whole.
Through the Facebook group, I received a cosmic opportunity to view the nucleus of kindness with total strangers. At first I internally cherished the wondrousness of the interactions. But something greater than myself decided it was important to share. Hence, the Christmas Story. “M” is me but the names and places are changed for privacy. I left typos and shortcuts. Below is my Facebook story.
A Facebook Christmas Story
J. Int in tins.
M. When would you like to pick up? Are you interested at all in the Impressionist tin? will throw in for a $1.
J. Which one is that?
M. I just posted it separately since it wasn’t holidayish.
J.Found it! Yes, my dad or his girlfriend would love that one!
M. OK your total is $6. When would you like to pick up?
J. Ok. Will swing by after my daughter gets out of school – so about 3:10-3:15 I should be there.
M. OK great! Will put them out for you now. I may run errands. Pls put $$ in mail slot. Thank you!
J.Hi! Do you happen to be home? I’m here, but thought I had a $5 on me, but have a $10 and $1. So if you are home & have $5 change? Or, I come by later. On my way to pick up my daughter.
M. Not at home but I do have chnage. Will be home after 5.
J.Ok. There are two other bags on the porch.How much do the other women owe you? If it’s $5, I’ll just pay for theirs.
M. I am not home and can’t remember on theirs. 6 for you.
J.Right. Ok. I’m paying for Ys. Just let her know. I found her post buy – that is $5. So I am putting $11 in your mail slot. $6 for mine and$5 for hers.
M. That is generous but I can’t remember. For that expression just take all yours for $5. drop the $1.
J. Ok. Thanks!
J. Same to you!
M. Hi there, Did you leave me a $10? I am trying to figure out who was coming by and picking up and no one owed $10.
J.Yes. I left $10. So paid $5 for the tins, and $5 for B’s ribbons.
M. That was nice but she still owes another $3 for a large roll of ribbon.
J.Oh! Sorry, I saw the one post that was $5 with ribbons!
M. I guess I’ll let B know she owes $3 plus $4 with lights. No worries. That was a nice gesture. She still has to pick up her stuff.
J.Oh ok! I thought the lights were someone else’s!
M. They were but that buyer backed out but let me check. Things were moving fast today.
J.Ok- here’s what I sent her : “I paid for your things. Just pick them up.”
J. She hasn’t seen or replied yet.
J.Sorry, I made more of a mess!
M. She hasn’t responded back yet. I guess you know her? That was nice of you. She doesn’t know you paid yet. I can leave the $5 out for you to pick up. Or I will be posting other things tomorrow and we can deal and I can work things out with B.
20 hours later
J.I don’t know her. Just saw the stuff out there and wanted to pay it fwd. Assumed it was in the $5 ballpark. And since I didn’t have exact change – wanted to just pay it fwd
9 hours later
M. You make me a better person. I know your kindness will come back to you. I don’t know her either but we chatted. Her dad has diabetes and lost two legs and on dialysis. I thought you might want to know because one never knows how the kindness is helping. I will continue your kindness. Merry Christmas.
10 hours later
M. Hi B. J paid $5 for your $9 so you just need $4 when you come to pick up your purchase.
B. Who’s J? I am sorry I am still interested but I had fell behind because I received a call that my father was in the hospital I will pick up tomorrow Thank you.
M. That is fine. I can wait. J is someone nice, sounds like. Let me know what time. No worries.
B. OMG really thank you. I will be there tomorrow.
M. You are communicating well and I just got back from two weeks of taking care of my father in law in hospital.
B. Yes, my dad is diabetic, lost both of his legs and he goes to dialysis three times a week. So blood is not circulating. But he is a fighter and he keeps us going.
M. Oh my B. I am sending you words of encouragement. He is must be a strong man.
B. Yes he is thank you!!
M. J paid most of yours so let’s call it even. Let me know what time you can come get your items. They are paid for. Not going anywhere. Merry Christmas!
B. Thank you so much!!! Happy Holidays!!
3 hours later
J. Wow. I didn’t know. Hope I brought a little bit of happiness then. Funny how we feel compelled to do things at certain times. I’m the type of person who will NOT give money to those on the street corners asking; but would rather give a homeless person food, or clothes or shoes. Or hold a door for the next person walking through, or let someone in a car cut through traffic. The small stuff anyway- just letting you know that your acknowledgement and desire to be a better person, also inspires me to be a better person too – so thank you.
M. Wow. This was a wondrous interaction. A very Merry Christmas to you and your family.
J. Same to you!!
B. Are you home? I left my husband’s business card and also a gift card from Starbuck’s to you.
M. Oh my. I must have just missed you. Yes, unpacking other things. That was so kind of you. This has been a wondrous interaction between you, I and J.
B. Merry Christmas!