Is Kindness Viral?









It’s almost Christmas, so perhaps acts of random kindness attract attention at this time of year. Maybe that’s too cynical. One of the most viewed images on the web last month was of a policeman helping a homeless man in New York. The man, a war veteran, was shoeless, so the policeman went to a local store and bought the man some boots – one assumes with his own money. He then helped the man to put them on.

So why is this image so heart warming? According to an experiment published in something called the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, someone that witnesses someone comforting someone in distress is more likely to be compassionate to another person themselves. I imagine the same is true too in the negative too. If you are the recipient of anger or rage you often pass the rage and anger on to someone else. This story has a twist because the man has been spotted shoeless once again. When asked “Where are your shoes?” the man said that they were too valuable to wear and would be taken from him. Turns out he isn’t homeless either. Nevertheless, it really is the thought that counts.

So be nice to someone you don’t know today, perhaps just smile at someone you don’t know, and make the world a nicer place for a few seconds.

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