Simple acts of kindness, Part 1

Many times, it’s the simple things that put a smile on our faces and keep us going day to day.

Sure, there are many terrible things going on in the world and even in many of our own neighborhoods, but we always look for the wee, small things to make everything better.

Last week, I was fortunate to experience this twice. Instead of trying to squish both stories into one post, I’ll give them the space they are due and give you a two-parter.

First up, my long wait for the bus helps me find a selfless act in a local canteen.

Actually, the place is called Canteen. You may have passed it going north on Charles Street as you approach North Avenue. They don’t have a sign yet, so you kind of to peek in the window to see how many people are in there.

The atmosphere is nice and comfy and the staff is friendly. That’s not what drew my attention. It was the area on the counter with some tall glass bottles filled with water. The sign above the bottles said you could help yourself to the water and use the small glasses stacked next to them to drink from.

What a great thing to do! Granted, it wasn’t exactly warm that day, but, it’s a place where water is still free. Don’t believe me? Try going across the street to McDonald’s and asking for a cup of water without buying something. Same thing at Target and many other places. You just can’t get a free cup of water anymore. I find that to be truly sad.

When I mentioned this to Madison, the young lady working that day, she was surprised. She didn’t know it was so hard for people in Station North, around North Avenue, to get a simple cup of water. With that act of kindness now in some perspective, I hope Canteen will continue to offer free water in nice glasses.

I get the feeling the people who run Canteen think much like I do: let’s take more time to help each other rather than stepping on people to get to the top. I suspect that Canteen will be one of those hidden cool places of Station North known for just that extra bit of caring and a smile on the faces of those who work there. And why not? Is it so weird for people to be happy at their jobs and pass that on to those they meet? I don’t think so!

So, when you get a chance and you’re heading up Charles Street, stop into Canteen and see what it’s all about, enjoy the atmosphere, and thank them for having free water.

Tune in next time when you’ll read about a group of students at the Franciscan Center.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.