The New York TimesThe New York Times

The unexpected power of random acts of kindness

By Catherine Pearson

02 Sep 2022 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

Research has found that small gestures may even go a longer way than initially thought. Read this article to discover the positive impact of showing others that you care.

In late August, Erin Alexander, 57, sat in the parking lot of a Target store in Fairfield, California, and wept. Her sister-in-law had recently died, and Alexander was having a hard day.

A barista working at the Starbucks inside the Target was too. The espresso machine had broken down and she was clearly stressed. Alexander — who had stopped crying and gone inside for some caffeine — smiled, ordered an iced green tea, and told her to hang in there. After picking up her order, she noticed a message on the cup: “Erin,” the barista had scrawled next to a heart, “your soul is golden.”

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