I had to grin last week when I noticed a hubcap leaning against a tree.

It made me smile, because it reminded me of my dad. He taught me long ago that when we see a hubcap in the road, the nice thing to do is pick it up, and lean it against a post or tree so its owner might see it and retrieve it.

It is simply a kindness to a stranger.

The hubcap reminded me of other kind gestures that human beings offer one another.

The most common, perhaps, is holding a door for someone. Back in the day, boys were taught to hold the door for ladies. Nowadays, many of us hold the door for whoever is close to it as we approach – ladies, gents, youngsters, elders.

It really doesn’t matter. It’s common courtesy – or a random act of kindness.

Similarly, I often see someone leaving a grocery store, picking up their bags out of the buggy, and offering the shopping cart to a person who is just arriving. It’s not a big deal, just a kindness.

Though many of us complain about traffic, especially when it’s congested, there are many opportunities for kindnesses. It’s okay to let another car in front of us as traffic merges. It’s okay to move over into another lane to allow someone in a hurry to pass.

My husband contends that the reason local traffic isn’t in complete and utter chaos is because of “gentle” drivers – those who stay in the correct lane, use their turn signals, drive the speed limit and stop at red lights.

Rescuing lost pets is another great kindness. Just last week, some friends who were visiting the island found a lost pup in the grocery store parking lot.

They picked him up so he wouldn’t get hit and called the phone number on his tag. Thankfully, the distraught owners were close by and came to get him.

A relatively new concept in kindness to strangers comes in the form of crowd sourcing to raise funds for charitable events, health expenses, tuition and the like. The idea is that if many people donate a few dollars each, the total grows quickly.

If you are looking for a way to show kindness to strangers – or neighbors – consider giving to some local requests at GoFundMe.com. You can search by location or name or other key word.

The Bluffton Dixie Youth All Stars are asking for help to get to the state tournament (see page 14A).

The families and friends of Grace Sulak and Andrea Dewey of Bluffton are still collecting for a scholarship fund and for medical bills. Sulak was killed in a hit-and-run car crash in May, and Andrea Dewey and her daughter Emma were badly injured.

George Moody, also of Bluffton, seeks funding for medical expenses as well. Several years ago, Moody had a heart transplant. Now he has lung cancer and can’t undergo typical treatments because of his transplant. Funds will go toward expenses for specialized treatment.

And if you’re interested in kindness on a larger scale, consider donating blood, something that can save many lives. In the Lowcountry, OneBlood and the Red Cross are both hosting blood drives this month. Check their websites for dates and locations.

Maybe we don’t all depend on the kindness of strangers like Blanche Dubois did, but we can all make the world a little better by practicing kindness every day.