Random Act of Compassion Goes Viral Online
The heartwarming story of a random act of compassion has gone viral on social media and online news outlets after a kind stranger decided reach out to Lauren Nordberg, the mother of a young boy with autism who was having a dramatic meltdown in the middle of a busy restaurant.
Six-year-old Elliot had just arrived at the restaurant in Bainbridge Island, Washington, with his mother after a visit to the dentist, but because the diner was busy the pair were unable to sit at their usual table. Nordberg explained that the packed, noisy atmosphere and the break in Elliot’s routine were all anxiety triggers for her son.
“I should have known better than to take him out for lunch after a dentist appointment, but he was so excited for pancakes and I promised so there was no turning back,” Nordberg said in a recounting of the incident on her Facebook profile. “He remembered that he forgot something at home that he wanted and within seconds he was in full on autistic meltdown.”
The harried mother took her son outside to calm him down while they waited for their order. “I started to get looks, as we often do when we have a meltdown,” she recalled. (KSL.com)
Elliot’s anxiety was assuaged by the arrival of their food, so the pair went back inside for their meal. However, when Nordberg asked restaurant owner Cyndi Moody for her bill, she was taken aback to be handed a brief note instead. “When I asked the owner Cyndi Moody for our receipt, she presented me with this [note]. Someone else had paid our bill. There is good in the world and this mama is thankful for the kindness of strangers.” (Lauren Nordberg Facebook)
The message read, “Have a great day! You are doing a wonderful job! God bless. From a mother who knows.”
“I started crying, the owner started crying, we start hugging,” Nordberg recalled. “Elliot was like, ‘Hey mom, let’s go.’” (KOMONEWS.com)
Moody was equally touched the act of compassion from one stranger to another. “It was just a sweet moment,” she said. “She didn't know her . . . she just really felt for Lauren and thought she was doing a really good job and wanted to pay it forward a little bit.” (KSL.com)
Nordberg emphasized how much it had meant to her to connect with, and be understood and appreciated by, someone she’d never met. “I'm keeping it in my wallet because I think it's important to always have a reminder of those moments," Nordberg said. "A kid who is having a hard time may be having a hard time, not giving a hard time.” (KSL.com)
Have you ever experienced kindness from someone you didn’t know? Do you remember how it felt to be recognized and appreciated by a complete stranger? Why not pay it forward by making a random act of compassion part of your daily Dharma practice and add some light into the life of another person. If you notice someone having a bad day, consider extending a helping hand. It needn’t be elaborate or costly, but simply an expression of compassion to a fellow being. Sometimes it’s the smallest of gestures that have the biggest impact on those around us.