Yesterday, one of my fellow SEALs and I spent a few hours sitting across a table from each other in the main lobby of the library, typing up over 270 “random acts of kindness” for one of our Sticks and Stones Anti-Bullying Campaign events held next week. As we entered all the beautiful thoughts that were written by SEALs in our last meeting into the computer, we decided to try some out, right then, right there. A cup of coffee was purchased and given to someone, random hellos were said and high fives were exchanged, smiles were spread on our faces, and then we somehow made our way around to talking about icebreaker questions. I dared the SEAL with me to ask a stranger what their favorite color was. So, she did. Just a few minutes later, a girl walked by and was stopped.
“Hi, how are you? I was wondering, what’s your favorite color?”
“Purple, thanks for asking!”
“No way, me too!”
And that’s it. Not too many sentences were exchanged, but both my SEAL and the ASA sister she had stopped left this brief conversation with a smile on their faces. They may not know each other’s names, they may never see each other again, but the fact that that one question was asked and answered with such cheer in their voices, changed the entire tone for the day. Suddenly, we were energized; we wanted to keep this momentum going. By this point, another SEAL had joined our table, and had joined in our fun. We spread this question to dozens of Longwood students and faculty as they walked through the lobby. Not one person denied us an answer. Each person we asked gave it some thought and answered it truthfully. Whether it be that table of people behind me who were totally trying to do a project (I can be distracting sometimes) or a random guy who was trying to get upstairs, they all gave us an answer with joy in their voice, and oftentimes, was followed with a “what’s your favorite color?” back to us.
You may be wondering, now why is she writing about asking someone their favorite color? That doesn’t seem like a “random act of kindness.” Yes, maybe it’s not paying it forward in the Student Union, or making a new friend in one of your classes, but you were able to bring a smile to someone’s day, even if it be for just one second. There’s something about a simple question, there’s something about the simplicity in four simple words we learned when we were 3 years old, that we oftentimes forget that we could actually make someone smile with such a “childish” question.
Your favorite color is no less a part of you than your favorite song, your favorite pair of shoes, or even a dream or aspiration of yours. We are defined by what we love, what we enjoy, what we find joy in. By asking someone “hi, what is your favorite color?” we are allowing them to open up, to let us understand a part of them. We tend to think of “your favorite color” as such a miniscule thing, but it’s not. My love for my favorite color is honestly a large part of who I am, and I know this is the case for countless others.
So, to the girl who loves purple, to the boy who likes blue, to our friend who says her favorite color changes daily, thank you for sharing that piece of you with us. Thank you for bringing us a smile yesterday, and for letting us bring you one too.