Hazel Braithwaite found this under the window wiper of the United Way company car on Wednesday after she parked too long during a meeting. It was another random act of kindness in Victoria, this one a thank you to the United Way of Greater Victoria. (Hazel Braithwaite/Twitter)

EDITORIAL: Random acts of community kindness define us

Greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members

How do we define the character of a community?

Coretta Scott King once said that the greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.

While that is most certainly true, it’s a sentiment that’s too often defined only by the grand gestures that a community undertakes.

RELATED: Vancouver Island woman looking for kind stranger who offered hugs after dog put to sleep

The holiday season is a prime example of that phenomenon.

In the coming weeks, we’ll witness and report on a series of food drives, toy runs and all manner of initiatives undertaken on behalf of those in the community who are most in need of help at Christmas.

But during that time there are a host of other stories that won’t be told.

There will be the mechanic who repairs a vehicle at no cost, knowing that the owners simply can’t afford the service and will suffer as a result.

There will be the neighbour who makes a point of visiting with the elderly person next door, just to provide a little companionship.

And, sometimes, it will involve taking the time to listen to others and offer some words of encouragement.

These are the things that define us.

We hope that the story of a local dental office’s compassion and generosity may help to refocus our perspective in that regard.

It’s a tale that demonstrated the fundamental truth that, as laudable as the large scale efforts may be, its actually the smallest acts of kindness that are worth more than the grandest of intentions.

Our story about the selfless actions of a local dental office is a great example.

RELATED: Putting some real teeth into the kindness of strangers

That tale began with an overheard conversation at a hairdresser and ended with a life altering gesture of generosity that made one family’s life just a little bit better.

Ordinarily, an occurrence of this sort may never have received any public acknowledgment, but in this case, it was framed against a backdrop of another act of kindness, a decade ago, when one woman refused to allow her five half-siblings to be swallowed up by the government child care system and sacrificed on their behalf.

That caught people’s attention and, hopefully, will cause them to reflect on their own lives.

Perhaps we should all make a point of carrying out random acts of kindness whenever we can, safe in the knowledge that, one day, someone might do the same for us. ”


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