Living with cancer blog

Pay it forward with random acts of kindness

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. July 15, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, I walked into my office after a long morning meeting and found my favorite cup of coffee waiting for me by my computer. It was perfect timing, and such an unexpected treat! This small gesture had just made my day so much brighter.

Later that week, I was in line waiting for my turn to order lunch and the woman just ahead of me was searching for an additional 50 cents to pay for her order — I happily reached into my coin purse and shared 2 quarters with her.

She went from being stressed to having a big smile on her face and thanked me for the kindness. She then asked how she could get the money back to me, and I said, "No need to pay me back, just pay it forward."

In my work at Mayo Clinic, I see beautiful and random acts of kindness every day between patients, staff and family members.

Patients helping other patients who are in need of assistance; staff making extra effort to make patients who don't feel well more comfortable as they wait for appointments; and the friendly smiles you see as you arrive to a full elevator and everyone makes room for one more.

As a cancer survivor, I hope you've experienced a few random acts of kindness. Maybe it was the neighbor who offered to help with shopping; flowers that arrived unexpectedly; a batch of your favorite cookies delivered just when you needed them; or another survivor who said just the right thing to make you feel that you aren't alone in your journey.

I'd love for you to share these random moments with each other on the blog — and then think about what an impact it would have on someone else to pay it forward.


Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

Follow on Twitter: @SherylNess1

July 15, 2014