“3 Bits” of Kindness

“I need a cell phone.” I said looking around for someone to hear me. My two backpacks were getting heavy. I slipped my school backpack onto the ground, undid the endless number of straps and buckles on my overnight backpack, and squirmed out of its tight hold on my back.

“Here you go.” My friend handed me her cell phone. I flipped it open to call my mom.

“Where are you?” I asked. This was the first time I had left the country without one of my parents and neither of them was at the airport to pick me up. My mom made a typical comment of having to pick up one of my many brothers. She told me how long she would be until she’d be. I handed the phone back graciously to my friend.

“Do you want us to stay?” asked Mr. Layton. “We can wait, awhile if you want us to.”

“No, it is alright; my mom is on her way.” I sat down in one of the chairs outside customs in the Portland International Airport. The only thing I could think of was how much I wanted to go back to the Czech Republic. I had loved the Czech Republic. I hadn’t wanted to leave the country. The Czech Republic was filled with cobblestone streets, ancient buildings and a beautiful graffiti wall. But most of all, the Czech Republic was overflowing with generosity. The Czech culture is one of the most generous I have ever witnessed.

In the Czech Republic, one display of generosity stands out in my mind. At the English camp I was attending, there was a cottage with all of the sleeping quarters. Upstairs, around the corner, and through a door was a room with two plush seats. To the right of the plush seats was a couch. The couch followed the wall around the corner to a wall with a door. The couch and two plush seats surrounded a rectangular table. This room is where most students conversed.

Jitka, a small 16 year old girl passed me a candy bar. This wasn’t just any candy bar, it was a 3 Bit. A 3 Bit is the best candy bar in the Czech Republic. “Do you want some?” she asked.

“No thanks I’m full from lunch,” I answered, handing the candy bar back to her. She then asked everyone else on the couch if they wanted any. Jitka asked everyone, twice just to make sure no one wanted any; then and only then did she allow herself to eat the candy bar. I sat back and was amazed at her generosity. She made sure that everyone had a chance at her candy bar before she would eat any of it. And from the way she asked everyone I was sure she would have been fully satisfied if the candy bar had been completely gone before she got any of it. I sat back and thought that if Americans had even this simple of generosity, that many of the political and social problems we face today would not exist.

After my mom picked me up from the airport, I sat in the back of the family van and reflected. My brothers were arguing about who got the legs from the KFC chicken bucket. Each of them wanted the chicken’s legs but none of them were generous enough to allow the other to have any. Even among brothers, generosity in the United States is rarely expressed. The sight of this depressed me. My two younger brothers, age of nine and ten, were completely wrapped up in the idea of serving themselves and no one else. Most Americans strive for the american dream for, whether they know it or not. This dream is now the idea of owning many material possessions all to satisfy and serve you. I think back on Jitka’s happy face asking each person if they wanted some of her candy bar. The glow she had from doing something good looked better to me now than who won the argument about the chicken legs.

From this experience I have noticed that I try to be more generous. If I had the chance, I would love to have every American experience the joy that comes from doing something good for someone else. Because of the generosity I saw from those Czech students, I will always leave a place in my heart for them.