Sometimes you never know the impact a simple act of kindness can have! For JoAnn Bowen, who works as the executive assistant to the president’s office at PUC, helping a stranger one afternoon resulted in a $1,000 donation to the college. We asked her to share about her experience, and we hope her story is a wonderful reminder that you never know how much your actions can mean to others.
A year ago, a man who I later learned to be John O. Pohlmann was biking and had a breakdown–I was on my lunch break coming up the hill to Angwin from Pope Valley. I just happened to have my bike rack on my vehicle and I just happened to go home during lunch to check on my dog! I usually don’t do this since it’s far. So, I drove John directly to Rico Mundy’s (another PUC employee) house who, as an avid biker, was able to repair his bike gear and send John on his way back to Bothe Park, where he camps every year along with his wife, Lyn.
On Tuesday last week, in walks John and Lyn with a thousand dollar check to PUC in honor of me! He said they just wanted to show their appreciation for the goodwill and helpfulness you can still find in the world today.
John is a retired adjunct history professor; he spent 53 years working in the California State Colleges through his career. The last place he worked was California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif. His lovely wife is a retired piano teacher.
We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the Pohlmanns for their generosity to PUC.
Looking for inspiration for how you can spread everyday kindness? Read “Casual Kindness at PUC”, which has some suggestions for small acts you can incorporate in your everyday life that can help bring happiness to everyone you meet.
One of the first things I noticed as a freshman at PUC was the casual everyday kindness students showed toward each other. Everywhere I went, people held open doors for each other and picked up papers others had dropped. I’ve experienced acts of varying magnitude from buying a stranger lunch to letting someone know their tag is sticking out of their shirt collar. Regardless of how big or small, these random acts of kindness can make a big difference in someone’s day or even life. The casual kindness I witness every day is one of my favorite things about PUC. In these small acts and fleeting moments, I see true Christian behavior and the expression of true Christian love toward one’s neighbor.
In this time when we are bombarded everyday with how horribly human beings can treat each other and how selfishly they can act, watching someone be kind to a stranger for no reason and with no expectation of reward is like cool aloe vera on a severe sunburn. This campus is by no means perfect, but it has often seemed to me an oasis in a harsh, biting desert.
There are other places, I’m sure, where random acts of kindness are as common if not more so, and certainly people everywhere occasionally do nice things for each other. I don’t mean to claim PUC is solely unique in this regard, I merely wish to acknowledge and celebrate this aspect of our community in the hopes this behavior will become yet more prevalent and widespread both at PUC and wherever our students go throughout their lives.
If you want to start being kind in your everyday life but don’t know how, here are some suggestions:
Compliment someone (though only if the sentiment is genuine).
Do something simple such as basic origami when you’re bored in class and give the results to whoever’s sitting nearby.
Buy an extra cookie when you go to the caf and give it away.
Hold the door open for the person behind you.
If there’s a class you’ve particularly enjoyed or learned a lot from, tell the teacher.
If you have the money to spare, buy a drink at the Grind for your roommate, teacher, or friend.
Pray for God to bring people into your life or opportunities for kindness to your attention.
Just look around, keep an eye out as you go about your day. Maybe someone dropped a pen or has a leaf caught in their hair—there are opportunities all around you.
Every little thing truly does count. Putting just a bit more love and kindness into the world is so easy and takes so little time, but can turn someone’s day around or give them some small bit of comfort or emotional boost. So PUC community, thank you for the kindness you have shown me and please continue to be kind every day to whomever you may meet.