Arenít people nice?
The following column originally appeared in the April 22, 2004 edition of the Daily Mail.
Sometimes we get so concerned with all the bad news in the papers and on television that we forget that this is the BAD news. We need to look more often at the GOOD news.
I heard this morning on a talk show that the parent of one of the students who was killed at Columbine is involved in speaking about starting a chain reaction of kindness. I was mulling over that idea during the morning when I spent some time in a waiting room at the Nevada Regional Medical Center. My husband was having a minor procedure, which took about two hours. So several of us were sitting in the nice new lobby reading OLD magazines. (One I picked up was for September 2000! It was anticipating the last presidential election!)
The Hospital Auxiliary volunteer who was assisting in the lobby made a fresh pot of coffee and told me to help myself. I thanked her and said I didnít care for coffee but would love to have a Dr. Pepper. She directed me to the vending machine alcove where I found several choices, but no Dr. Pepper. I returned to the lobby empty-handed and was asked if I didnít find my drink. I explained that I really didnít care for any of the choices there and would just wait until we left to indulge myself.
I returned to the magazine for a few minutes when suddenly I was presented with a Styrofoam cup of ice and a bottle of Dr. Pepper by one of the other women who were waiting in the lobby. She told me that she used to work at the hospital and knew that Dr. Peppers were available in the cafeteria. I was overwhelmed with her kindness and after thanking her I tried to pay her. She would not even take my money.
I did not know this woman. I was not in real distress, merely wishing for my usual mid-morning pick-up. But this kind person knew how to meet my minor need and she did something about it. Our later conversation helped me know that she is a Respiratory Therapist at Wilkinsonís and lives in the country near Nevada. I didnít get her name but it would have been better if I had and could send her a thank you note.
The smiles that I saw from others in the area showed me that her act of kindness might well start a chain reaction of nice deeds. I know I was ready to do something nice for someone else in response to her action.
I tried a second time to pay for the drink but my new friend said that she would have felt the same way if her Coca-Cola had not been available. We discussed habits and addictions and decided that our favorites were no different than the coffee that was available there for any of us.
My morning changed from being a long wait to a wonderful memory. My spirits were lifted not just by the caffeine in the drink but by the friendship I experienced.
My reaction, and possibly that of some of the others in the room, will spur me on to do other acts of kindness each day to those around me. Maybe some of my acts will also be the catalyst for others to show kindness.
Itís been a nice day. I enjoyed watching the good news on television that resulted from a terrible tragedy. I enjoyed a long wait in the hospital, and I was inspired by a stranger. There are still several hours left in the day. I wonder just what other good things might occur. Maybe my husband will take me out to supper. That would he an act of kindness to him as well as to me. He wouldnít have to eat my cooking!