Kindness Challenge: Putting others first, no matter the risk

Gracie McHugh
Gracie McHugh

In life, it’s not the ideas you have, or your intentions, or even the things you say you will do that count. In life it’s your actions that matter the most and today’s column is about the kind actions of two people, almost 100 years apart whose kind actions saved the lives of others.

Harold Lowe was an officer on the Titanic. On the night of April 14, 1912, Harold Lowe was the officer in charge of the only lifeboat that went back to the site the Titanic had sunk to save people from the freezing ocean. He forced other officers to crowd people tighter together in other lifeboats and then had the people from his lifeboat move to those open spots. Harold Lowe went against orders and he rowed back to where the Titanic had sunk and tried to pull as many people as he could from the icy ocean. He was afraid for his own life, but he put that aside because he knew he had to try to help others. Because of Harold Lowe’s kindness, he saved as many as six people that night with his brave actions. He didn’t have to go back and risk his own life, and the people above him told him not to, but he did anyway because he could see there was extra room in boats and he knew he needed to help others. History should remember him for his act of kindness during such a scary time. He is an example of amazing bravery, and very importantly his kindness.

Here in Concord, we have many first responders working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic risking their lives to help others, like Harold Lowe risked his life. One of those first responders is nurse practitioner Sarah Medeiros who works at Crossroads Family Medicine.

Harold Lowe must have felt afraid as he made the courageous decision to row back to the site of the Titanic sinking to save people, and I believe first responders today must also feel scared. I wanted to talk to Sarah and share her story as an example of the bravery and kindness being shown by all first responders during this frightening time.

I asked her about how she feels working on the front lines of a pandemic and what advice she has as a medical professional for how we can show kindness through safety measures during this time. Sarah said that even when stores, schools and almost everything shut down due to COVID-19 she and her colleagues kept working and worked straight through the pandemic. She shared that she has not stopped working at all since the coronavirus started. “

“It is somewhat scary to me to think I could bring the coronavirus home to my family but this is my job and the patients I see need me,” Sarah said. “And I feel safe when I am working. We have protection with masks, gowns, gloves, goggles, face shields. We are doing a lot of social distancing in our office and we are doing a really good job of keeping our staff, employees and patients safe.”

Sarah also shared some recommendations for how to keep yourself safe and how to act with kindness to help keep others safe during this time. She suggests wearing a face mask anytime you are out and explained that “wearing face masks protects you, but it also protects everyone else, so if everyone is wearing their face masks, that to me is one of the best acts of kindness you could show because you are helping to protect all of your other community members.”

It is clear that first responders like Sarah Medeiros are putting their all to help keep others safe and want to help protect everyone in our community from getting sick.

Harold Lowe and Sarah Medeiros might have lived 100 years apart but they are similar in the ways that they both took risks to help others. Harold Lowe took a risk. He did not know if he would be able to save people when he rowed back in the freezing ocean in an empty lifeboat, but he tried anyway. Sarah Medeiros takes risks everyday when she goes into her office and so do all the first responders like her. They showed in their actions that they are willing to put kindness first to help others. This week’s Kindness Challenge is a chance for you to take a risk and put kindness first and help others with your actions.

This week’s kindness challenge is called “Take A Risk.” Don’t worry, I am not asking you to risk your life! Your challenge this week is to call three people you haven’t talked to recently and give them a genuine, personal compliment. It’s a small act but you never know how much that one kind act might improve someone’s day. If you are comfortable social distancing and seeing people in person, you can even do this with three strangers that you see when you are out. The point is, take a risk, and put the kind ideas you have and kind intentions into action and offer a kind compliment to people. Yes it’s scary to talk to people you may not know well, or at all, and you don’t know how they will respond, but everyone loves to hear a compliment so be the person to make other people happy this week with your kindness. Be like Harold Lowe and Sarah Medeiros. Take a risk. Make intentions be actions. Offer a compliment. It won’t cost you anything and it’s not dangerous and you will make others really happy. Harold Lowe and Sarah Medeiros have both made a huge difference for others because of their willingness to act with kindness and take a risk and you can too!

Share Your Story: Don’t forget to share your photos and stories about your Take A Risk Kindness Challenge this week on Instagram at @kindnesschallengenow or email me your stories at kindnesschallengenow@gmail.com. Tag your post on Instagram with #kindnesschallengecompleted and #takeariskkindnesschallenge

Author: Gracie Mchugh

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