Random Acts of Kindness? NYers say “Not if I can help it!”

As I was walking through Central Park today, this random girl walking by me shoved the above daisy into my hands.  I took it and said “thank you” more as a reflex than anything else and was planning on putting it on the next bench I saw or something since I really had no need for a ratty daisy.  But then I saw the little tag that said “Pay it forward” and it made me smile so I figured, why not?  The flower looked like it had passed through a few hands already, and I didn’t want to be the one to break the chain so I started looking for someone to pass it off on.  I was looking for a little kid or girl my age since it’d be kind of creepy to give it to a guy or someone much older.  Besides, I figured someone my age would be less likely to just throw it to the side.  Boy was I wrong.

I didn’t pass any kids–who would have been super easy targets–so I tried to hand it off to three different girls/women.  And I got rejected three times.  Two of them just kept on walking as if they hadn’t noticed me (it’s that whole blind deaf and dumb act NYers love) and one was just like “no thanks” in a brusque manner.  All three times I literally said “Seriously? Whatever.”  and got dirty looks lol.  After the third time I was feeling disheartened so I left the flower on the railing of the bow bridge, so maybe someone else would find it.

It was just sad because random things like this are designed to make people smile and recognize how little things can change someone’s day….but in this case rather than increasing my “faith in the good of humanity,” it just reminded me how bitter and jaded some people (especially big city people like NYers) really are, which kind of put a damper on my day.  I shouldn’t have been surprised I suppose, because these are the same people who look at me like I have three heads when I hold a door open behind me or hold it to let someone out first….. I mean, yeah I thought the flower was a little weird at first too (but also nice) and there are some people in IL who probably wouldn’t have known how to respond, but they would have at least been nice about it.  As Justin (my coworker who got sent to Jersey to manage a theater for a while) put it, people up here are “just mean, unhappy, discourteous human beings.”  A little harsh, but I’m very tempted to agree…. 😦

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