Someone did a huge kindness for me the other day. They actually have no idea how much it meant to me. The act wasn’t very difficult or demanding, and they would have no way of guessing how much I needed it. For me, it was huge. And the sad thing is that I don’t even remember her name (in honesty, it was brief and hurried introduction).
This is my thank you letter to the (almost) anonymous stranger. It’s also a note to self and to everyone else. We may think our small acts of kindness, of caring, of helping others are no big deal. We may even not bother to do them because they seem so insignificant.
But we would be wrong. Every act of kindness counts; every gesture of caring is meaningful. Nothing is too small; nothing goes unnoticed (at least not by the Almighty who is always watching even if some people seem to be ungrateful!).
This is my story. I had to take a last-minute flight to New York with one of my children to deal with a particularly challenging situation. Since it was so late, not only did we use up every mileage point we had, have or will have but we had very few options in terms of flights. We took a 6:30 a.m. flight Sunday morning (necessitating leaving our home at the way too early hour of 5:00 a.m.) and a similar flight home two days later. I’m not complaining, just setting the scene.
The middle day, Monday, was also a long day involving not insignificant travel, schlepping and dealing with the aforementioned particularly challenging (and might I add, stressful!) situation – which was resolved in a positive way, thank God! After this trying day (did I mentioned it was also raining?) my daughter and I arrived at the train station closest to where we staying (my friend’s home – another example of gracious kindness) at about midnight.
I called the local taxi company and they said there would be a 25-minute wait for the next available cab. At midnight! In the mostly deserted station! When I was totally drained and still had to pack and get some sleep before that (early!!) flight home the next morning.
I felt the tears start to well up behind my eyes. But I was the mother and I had to be strong and resourceful.
Before my anxiety had a chance to develop into full-fledged despair, a car pulled into the station, a mini-van driven by an orthodox woman. I saw two children running towards it.
I approached to ask for the number of an alternative taxi company but no sooner were the words out of my mouth than she offered me a ride.
We didn’t hesitate for one second before piling in. We were soooo grateful. A bleak moment was transformed in an instant into a moment of hope, of comfort, of relief.
We didn’t really chat (maybe that’s why I forgot her name! Or maybe was just my exhaustion. Or old age…) She was busy listening to her children’s eager and enthusiastic recitation of the day’s adventures.
But it didn’t matter. She had already done her kindness for me. The ride was everything. And yes, she even went a little out of her way. But that wasn’t the essence of her kindness. It was her immediate offer of a ride that said (and did!) it all. Like I said, not a big effort on her part but it made a big difference to us. Thank you.
We should all look for small ways to help. We can only begin to imagine how much they count!