I go to buy groceries twice every week in the morning. I get milk and dairy products from this vendor whose name I do not know. We always greet each other with a smile, and we complete our transactions.
A couple of weeks ago, I bought quite a few items from him. While billing, it occurred to me that I was being charged less. So, I asked him to check again. He took out his calculator and did so. He found out that he was, indeed, charging me less. I felt good that I was aware of the calculation, and he did not lose out because of a small mistake.
A few days ago, a similar mistake happened again. He returned 20 rupees extra to me. However, this time I didn’t realize it until I was home and was recording my expenses. So, the next time I went to his shop, I returned it to him.
And you would not believe this if I told you: it happened again for a third time just yesterday. He charged me less again, and I didn’t realize until I was home recording and tallying my expenses. I went to him and returned it today morning.
To my surprise (and maybe a little dismay), he did not say “thank you” to me every time this happened. He did not smile wider the next time we met. He simply acknowledged the act. On the previous two occasions, I felt a little bad. “Did he think I was trying to show off my mental math skill?”; “Did he think I was trying to be pretentious?”; “Why did he not thank me?” These were a few thoughts that occurred to me previously.
However, today, I found myself asking, “Would I feel happier if I kept the money?”. And the answer to the question made me realize that the purpose of my kindness was my own sanity. Not for the acknowledgment.
When you’re kind to others, you’re being kind to yourself.