“Love is the strongest power there is.” — J.K. Rowling
Today is Valentine’s Day, the day when love is in the air. And considering all the negative news from all around the globe that constantly floods our screens and makes us feel uncertain, pessimistic, and fearful of the future day in and day out, today is a wonderful opportunity to take the initiative and through random acts of kindness, sow the seeds of love and hope wherever we go. The world is in desperate need of more love, and we must do all we can to provide sincere appreciation, warmth, and recognition to others.
One important thing to keep in mind in our everyday lives is to acknowledge and reward an act of excellence whenever and wherever we encounter it, and never take the simple, small, ordinary things for granted. Today on the occasion of Valentine’s day, I’d love to share one of Jim Rohn’s favorite personal anecdotes that beautifully illustrates this notion:
Once, Jim and his friend were on a trip to Carmel, California, for some shopping and exploring. On the way, they stopped at a service station, and as soon as they parked their car in front of the pumps, a young man, about 18 or 19, came bouncing out to the car and with a big smile asked, “Can I help you?”
“Yes,” Jim answered. “A full tank of gas, please.” This was when gas stations had both full- and self-serve pumps. Still, Jim said he wasn’t prepared for what followed. This young man checked every tire, washed every window—even the sunroof—singing and whistling the whole time. Both Jim and his friend were impressed; they couldn’t believe the quality of service and his upbeat attitude.
When he brought the bill, Jim said, “Hey, you really have taken good care of us. I appreciate it.”
“I really enjoy working,” the young man said. “It’s fun for me, and I get to meet nice people like you.” Jim felt this kid was really something.
“We’re on our way to Carmel, and we want to get some milkshakes,” Jim told the man. “Can you tell us where we can find the nearest Baskin-Robbins?”
“It’s just a few blocks away,” he said, giving them the directions. Then the young man added, “Don’t park out front—park around to the side so your car won’t get sideswiped.” Jim was pleasantly surprised at his thoughtfulness!
At the ice cream shop, Jim and his friend ordered milkshakes—hers, his, and a third one. They drove back to the station. The young lad dashed out to greet them. “Hey, I see you got your milkshakes!”
“Yes, and this one is for you.”
His mouth fell open. “For me?”
“Sure. With all the fantastic service you gave us, I couldn’t leave you out of the milkshake deal.”
“Wow!” He was simply astonished.
As they drove off, Jim could see him in his rearview mirror, just standing there, grinning from ear to ear.
“Now, what did this little act of generosity cost me? Only about $2,” Jim told the audience, “You see, it’s not the money; it’s the style.”
Jim further continued with the happenings of that day.
Upon their arrival in Carmel, Jim drove straight to a flower shop. As they walked inside, Jim said to the florist, “I’d like to buy one long-stemmed rose.”
The florist, a rather unromantic type, replied, “We sell them by the dozen.”
“I don’t need a dozen,” Jim said, “just one please.”
“Well,” he replied haughtily, “it will cost you $2.”
“Wonderful,” Jim exclaimed. “There’s nothing worse than a cheap rose.”
Selecting the rose with some deliberation, Jim handed it to his friend. She was so impressed! And the cost? Just $2. Later that day, she looked up and said, “Jim, I must be the only woman in Carmel today carrying a rose.” And indeed, she probably was the only one.
Jim concluded this anecdote with these words, “Can you imagine the opportunity to create magic with those around you—and all for the cost of a few dollars, some imagination and attention? Remember, it is not the amount that matters but the thought and care that often has the greatest impact upon those you love.”
So today, become a love wizard and create magical moments wherever you go. Your simple, seemingly insignificant acts of kindness might just initiate a cascade of beautiful events and trigger a positive chain reaction, inspiring and empowering countless people to find hope, faith, and optimism, within and around them.