In her fantastic New York Public Library conversation with Elizabeth Gilbert, novelist Ann Patchett shares this moving anecdote about her father — a testament to the true measure of kindness in a culture that so often operationalizes people and reduces who we are to what we do, or can do for someone's agenda:
My father was a police office in Los Angeles and was involved in a lot of high-profile cases — my father was one of the people who brought in Manson; my father was the person who brought in Sirhan... And whenever he traveled and people would say to him, "What do you do?" he would always say "I'm a produce manager at Ralph's" (which is the grocery store chain) — because ... if you meet someone who can't be nice to the grocery person, there's someone you don't want to know.
As Jack Kerouac would say, "practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now."
Patchett and Gilbert's full conversation is very much worth hearing.