I have often written about the kindness of metro Detroiters because it continues to inspire me. That someone would act in support and encouragement of someone else especially outside their own family, neighborhood or circle of friends is refreshingly amazing. But it happens every day in my community.

Some think kindness is – or should be – the exclusive domain of the prominent and powerful. Not so. I have seen the poorest of the poor showing kindness to others. I have seen the jobless and homeless helping people of like circumstances in our shelters. I have also seen orphans looking out for fellow orphans, victims of domestic violence providing support to fellow victims, and recovering alcoholics and returning citizens giving peer support at our service delivery sites in metro Detroit.

Whenever men and women on public assistance or seniors in nursing homes send us checks to help the young and old in dire need, I think of kindness as a precious bird that cannot be caged.

Kindness is a virtue that anyone can choose to practice. It doesn’t matter what our circumstances are or whether others expect nothing good from us.

The way I see it, kindness has a way of making us feel truly human. For as social beings, we not only respond to the need to interact and associate with others but also empathize with them. And empathy leads us to compassion which in turn leads to improved and changed lives around us.

That’s what I often remind my various mentees. That’s also what I teach my four kids. And I am so pleased that for their birthdays this month, my first daughter Leila, and last son, Nadim, asked for no expensive presents or parties. Instead, they sent me a short video asking that I help them distribute special treats to seniors in the cities of Dearborn and Inkster.

I was enamored of the video and understandably proud that in it, they spoke of being inspired by our multifarious work at Detroit Rescue Mission (where, since April, we’ve distributed over 3000 large boxes of non-perishable food items to seniors in 7 cities in Western Wayne).

Who wouldn’t be proud? As a parent, you pray, work hard and hope your kids follow good examples and do the right thing.

Thank you Leila and Nadim for making me feel my labor of love in your lives has been very fruitful. You’ve been excelling in academics and sports. And now, you are demonstrating the power of empathy and compassion, and I couldn’t be happier.

Within two days of watching and sharing the aforementioned heart-warming video, Somerset Collections and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory came on board, providing as many as 1000 large individually wrapped cookies. Then the Dearborn Police and Inkster Police departments agreed to send officers to help us distribute the cookies and 60 bags of groceries to seniors in their senior housing communities.

And they did – with instructive and infectious poise.

The feedback I got? The seniors really loved the cookies and were so happy that the teens would think of them with such kindness.They also loved the fact that friendly police men and women brought treats to their doorsteps amid the lockdown.

As I thank all those who gladly supported this thoughtful effort, I keep remembering the joyful and exciting look on the young faces of Leila and Nadim as we went about the distribution on May 15. They looked more excited and joyful than previous birthdays with big presents.

Who knows? Maybe, their friends are already thinking of using the occasion of their birthdays to celebrate, encourage and support others, especially those who might need a little help. Won’t that be so nice?

Let the kindness continue with you.

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