In the TV commercial, they walk into the dealership to pick up a part for his car. His sister, who is accompanying him, is carrying her young daughter, Jesse. As they exit through the main showroom packed with shiny autos, he stops in the middle of the metallic maze.
“Oh, and there’s something else I need to do before we leave. It’s this,” he says pointing at a white mid-sized SUV in the corner. “This is for you. It’s all paid for, so you don’t have to worry about anything. I want you to have a safe vehicle for you and Jessie.”
Well, I just lost it and burst into tears with this brotherly generosity. Needless to say, his sister is stunned, grateful, and momentarily overwhelmed, and crying too.
This scene that played out before me was the biggest random act of kindness I’d ever seen, and, to me, completely overshadowed the fact that it was a commercial for a car.
That feeling of his kindness and generosity stayed with me all day. I felt as good as if someone had surprised me with an over-the-top gift.
It got me to thinking about the hidden benefits of giving. After all, I didn’t receive the gift, but I floated a little off the ground for the entire day with this … heck, it was just a commercial – not even a real gift for a loved sister and niece.
What better feeling is there other than giving and doing for others? It’s much more than an audience filled with members going bonkers as Oprah yelled, “And there’s a car for you, and a car for you and a car for you,” as she punched the air in front of her for emphasis.
Sometimes giving is much more exhilarating and joy-inducing than receiving. It is such a high! Can you think back to a time when you surprised someone with a gift – not a huge car-kind-of-gift, but something that was unexpected and valued by them? Perhaps it was an inexpensive toy or book for a little kid. Perhaps it was a surprise party for a sibling or a peer.
Giving doesn’t have to be monumental to be beneficial.
Recent studies have found that being generous increases our ability to cope with physical pain and symptoms of chronic diseases. Giving of our money and time, including volunteering, has been associated with significant decreases in blood pressure, stomach acid, and cholesterol levels, and increased anti-bodies, which boost our immune system.
In addition to physical well-being, generosity can increase personal happiness and reduce stress. Tell me who can’t benefit from reducing stress in this day and age! Also, think of how your generosity can change someone’s world for the better.
Finally, if you can be generous with others, your actions will serve to remind others that they too can share in the benefits of giving. You can be a role model, and your giving can be contagious.
Do what you can – to help others and yourself!