Sam gave this speech to Toastmaster’s Club in Spokane on July 31st 2009;
I am very sure each of you here in this audience, at one time or another, have been touched by an act of kindness, or perhaps, have felt good about kindness that you have extended to others.
I myself have always been fascinated and deeply moved by kindness that I received from other people. It was so powerful that not only did it change my life, but also saved it as well.
In my book, I detailed an incident in which Captain Ray Striler, an officer of the US Army Special Forces who, out of his kind heart, decided to ship me out of the war zone so that I could escape the sniper shot that took the life of my replacement. Or, upon my arrival at the village of Liminancong of Palawan in the Philippines, the village chief, Mr Miguel, under the downpour of rain and storm, took me into his home, clothed me and fed me. His family of f a wife and two beautiful daughters all comforted me for days until I found my family. In 1980 when I came to the United States, the Bjorklunds of Los Altos Hills, California took me under their wing. They gave me my first job in America. They helped me grow so that I could become who I am today.
In Spokane here, I remember an article in the Spokesman Review that described an incident in which there was an elderly lady who, at a grocery store, had her cart filled with all kinds of food for the holiday. However, at the check out, when every item was rung and bagged, she then discovered that she was thirty dollars short for the purchase. Everything seemed standing still, the clerk was showing some signs of impatience, as the lady was indecisive of what items needed to be taken out from the bag. At that seemingly moment of deadlock, moment of distress for her, a man behind her, a gentleman to be exact, raised his hand and winked at the clerk and softly said:” I would like to take care of it.” At that, everyone was giving him a round of applause. Or, perhaps, you were probably at the toll both on a certain freeway when you were having toll fees in you hand, ready to hand it to the cheerful clerk only to be told that the person in the car ahead of you had paid for it. I am very sure that you felt so good. How can one repay kindness one received? To me it is almost impossible. The best thing one can do is to extend kindness to others, and besides, kindness rendered never expects kindness returned. To me this world, this universe is held together by nothing but the kindness from one heart to another, from one human being to another.
When we practice love and kindness, we become vulnerable; we put ourselves on the line. However, I would like to use the word of mother Teresa, who always says: “do it anyway!”
Every day we are presented with choices, with decisions to make, such as do I want to be right? Or do I want to be kind? Choose the latter, ladies and gentlemen, for joy is a guarantee.
Now for the next few seconds I would like you to experience this joy of kindness by asking you to sit still, I will watch the time, now gently close your eyes, pay attention to your breathing and mentally say: may I be filled with loving kindness. May ‘so and so’ be filled with loving-kindness.
Thank you very much and may God bless you.