Today I held an elevator door for someone.
We shared the little space in silence for a few moments. Then he turned and said “So many doors have been shut in my face today. Thank you for holding one open.” In the silence while my brain took a moment to understand he was serious, he repeated: “Seriously, thank you.”
Which made me think about how small things we do can change a person’s whole day.
Here’s my story when it happened to me.
I was riding home on the metro after a long, tough day working at a job I hated. My kidlets were very young, and I knew a long slog of crying, feeding, and bathing waited for me at home. I sat on the hard vinyl seat, wishing I could slip into a time-space continuum and sleep for a month.
A woman got on and sat in the seat perpendicular to mine. She had a bouquet of roses. Beautiful yellow-y roses that had deep pink at the ends of the petals. Reminded me of the roses my mom used to grow.
After the metro jerked its way through a stop or two, she began to talk to me. Just chit-chat, nothing special, but somehow her manner was so kind….the more we spoke, the more I felt the brittle crappiness of the day fall away.
When we were almost at my stop, pulled a rose out of her bouquet. “Today was my mother’s birthday. She died seven years ago.” She handed the flower to me. “I like to give her favorite rose to women I meet on this day. To pass the happiness we had.”
Tears pricked my eyes as I stood on the platform and watched her wave as the metro pulled out of the station. The connection she forged with me–a total stranger–completely changed my day.
So here’s my thanks to the lady in the yellow dress—I’ve not forgotten you or your kindness in memory of your mom. Maybe in some, small way I made a difference in the elevator today.
So tell me your story. When did did the kindness of a stranger turn your day around?