This is from my own ‘yesterdays’ of life but even though it happened a while ago the memory is indelibly printed in my mind. Each time I recall this day, I’m reminded why small acts of kindness are so important.
This experience happened while I was operating a small marketing firm in downtown Portland, Oregon. While trying to secure an appointment with an editor for a busy city newspaper, the lines to his office phone kept staying busy. Every 5 minutes or so the receptionist would come on the phone line and apologize for the delay.
Although I could hear in the background that she was extremely busy herself, her voice was polite and sincere. At one point, while she was asking me to wait on “hold” just a little bit longer, I heard her speaking to several people, at once, there in the reception room, she was clearly having a very hectic and difficult day.
Still, each time she spoke with me on the phone, she stayed polite, friendly and interactive. I finally said to her. “A hard day today?” And she told me it was one of the worst she’d ever had regarding situations to handle. I was greatly impressed that she did not let her bad day interfere with her ability to give great service. Eventually I did get to speak with the editor and an appointment was set for the next day.
The next morning as I prepared to go to the meeting I kept recalling the excellent demeanor of the receptionist, I wanted to thank her and acknowledge her “good job”. I stopped at a florist’s shop and bought a single rose. When I arrived at the newspaper’s offices, it only took a few minutes, once in the lobby to locate the receptionist. She was the busy person handling a variety of people standing by her desk while holding the phone to her ear.
I waited my turn then introduced myself to her mentioning my appointment with the editor. She checked a list on her desk and I could see she recalled our brief ‘back and forth’ phone interactions. In a friendly voice she gave me directions to his office.
I handed her the single red rose bud and thanked her for her courtesy on the phone. She looked up at me, tears flooding her eyes and the cool, calm demeanor vanished. With the tears rolling down her face I was rewarded with one of the largest and most sincere smiles I had ever seen. She thanked me profusely, and said “That was such a long hard day for me, thank you for thinking of me. I now have this rose to recall when I think about yesterday.”
I was personally overcome. I had just wanted to do a thoughtful gesture of kindness. To me “a little thing”, but for her, something that made her sit up straighter, feel much better about herself and the job she was doing … just because … Someone was thinking of her, appreciating her and letting her know!”
As I headed down the hall towards my appointment, my own heart felt lighter and my steps more carefree. I nailed the interview with the editor and my piece was published.
I’ve never forgotten the expression on her face or that day. An act of kindness does keep giving … for both the receiver and the giver!
Have an excellent day, thank you for stopping by,