It seems that over the last year there have been more and more videos that pop up on Facebook about “random” acts of kindness, doing right for others, and the monumental impact that has on the person that received the blessings. I will not lie, I like to see these videos. It shows that there really is still goodness in the world, especially when sometimes it feels as though all the goodness is being strangled out. But sometimes I have to wonder, are these good deeds done truly out of the goodness of the heart, or for their 15
minutes seconds of fame? For that viral feel-good story to rocket its way across social media?
I put the word random in quotes, because I feel as though some of these are staged. Maybe they aren’t as a whole. I am sure I have seen a couple that don’t ring true. The thing though that I truly feel about these instances, though, is that they are not solely done out of the goodness of one’s heart. The receiver of the kindness is filmed and you can almost always see that they are uncomfortable in the exchange. At least at first. Then the receiver may reveal some profoundly personal thing that I could imagine they probably would not want shared to the world at large.
Is giving to another human what you can spare something that must be broadcasted? Is it only done so that for a moment you can feel like you made a difference in the world?
I have had my moments of giving. Yes, they usually made me feel wonderful. But in those moments where I have given what I can spare, I have often felt the same discomfort as the one that I am giving to while the exchange is made. I cannot imagine filming the experience.
I think that it is disrespectful to the recipient of the kindness. There has not been any consent given oftentimes when someone pulls out their smartphone to record their buddy, the do-gooder. And if the do-gooder asks first then is it really done out of kindness? Wouldn’t the recipient feel immediately distrustful or unsafe if asked if the exchange could be filmed before-hand? It would certainly ruin the surprise or ‘realness’ of said video.
Is an act of kindness still an act of kindness even when there is a selfish reason it stems from? Can a selfish act be a redemption of sorts? Would it really matter to the receiver at the end of the day if what they just received was from the heart of the giver? If a nice act is caught on video, is it still a nice act?