Dropdown menu

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

It's all in the interpretation

We had a crime spree over the weekend. Someone decided it would be a nice gesture to go around the neighborhood, moving people's front lawns. Crime spree, you ask? Well, that's what I wondered. Personally, I was glad that someone besides me noticed that it was high time our lawn got mowed. I was beginning to fear for the neighborhood children. Because of my allergies, I have to wait for hubby to mow the lawn. So having someone else do it for us- bliss!

Unfortunately, our neighbors did not agree. I actually thought they might have been behind the drive-by mowing, since their yard is always pretty neat, and ours goes way too long behind mowings. But when they mentioned it to us, they were less than pleased. To be fair, they had just gotten their lawn fertilized, and you have to wait several days before mowing it. Well, our friendly neighborhood mower didn't know that, so they mowed it too soon.

What surprises me the most about our neighbor's reaction is that they're so angry about the surprise mowing that they aren't willing to acknowledge that whoever did it was at least attempting to make a kind gesture. The neighbor is certain that the person who mowed their lawn must've been staking them out, waiting for them to leave, and maybe the mowing was just an excuse to case their house to rob it. I tried telling the lady that our lawn (which was mowed either right before our right after) was mowed WITH US HOME. Yes, we were home when our lawn was mowed by a mysterious figure. We were so wiped out after our daughter's ride that we were all napping on the couch and missed all the excitement. Oh, how could we!!

Maybe I'm naive for thinking that someone mowing the lawns of a few random houses in a neighborhood is nothing more than a random act of kindness. My initial thought that it was a not-so-subtle hint that we're in the suburbs, not the jungle.  But in my mind, I picture a person who saw that there were a couple of lawns that needed some TLC, and was tickled to be able to do something nice without anyone knowing or expecting something in return.

So was this a random act of kindness, or some kind of evil horror brought about by a villain determined to destroy us all?

However, this got me to thinking. How many times do we do something we think is a very kind thing that someone else interprets as being terrible? Does a bad result (ie: messing up someone's fertilizer) negate the kindness behind the action? Do these negative reactions keep people from being kind? I admit, that as I've been thinking about doing more random acts of kindness, which I believe should be done in secret, that I'm really thinking more about how my actions will be interpreted. Will what I intend as kindness end up being a burden for the other person?

What about you? Have you ever had a random act of kindness go horribly wrong?

(OH... And if you happened to be the one to mow my lawn, THANK YOU!!! If you're interested in coming back, my back yard is about three times the size of my front. AND, we really need some edging done. :)  )

No comments: