Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thank You

I watched her as she approached the door. With her youngest resting comfortably in the stroller, she pushed with one hand, her older daughter being reined in by her other hand. I waited and watched, as she calculated how to keep control of her children, while opening the door.

Then I stepped up. I swung the door wide and held it open. Her smile said it even before the words, "Thank you."

As I passed her in the aisle, I nodded a "you're welcome," and returned to my shopping. But her smile stayed with me: such a simple act was received with so much gratitude. I liked that.

Over the years I have been the recipient of unexpected kindnesses, so I can relate to her feeling of gratitude. I remember the time the mechanic checked out the engine, when the "Check Engine" light came on. He announced it was a loose gas cap: no worries, no charge. I recall the time the gate agent called me forward and asked if bumping me to first class would be all right, allowing a couple to travel together. I recall the time one driver stopped a line of traffic, so I could make a left-hand turn. This good deed allowed me to arrive at the hospital emergency room just as the ambulance crew wheeled her into an examination room. The "thank you" I spoke seemed so inadequate compared to the gratitude I felt, but it was all I had.

Sometimes we forget to thank those who offer an act of kindness to us. We do this without thinking; we simply forget. Perhaps we can seek out and thank those who offer us an act of kindness. Perhaps we can thank those whose profession it is to serve: the pastor, the teacher, the military person, the police officer, or the fireman. And then there are still others who offer a service to us -- the mail carrier, the bus driver, the company janitor, the store clerk, the DMV associate -- folks who often go unnoticed and unappreciated, doing their work for a public that often doesn't acknowledge the value of what they do.

I have tried to make a habit of thanking those who have offered me a word of kindness or concern, or who have given me the gift of their time, effort or service.

And thinking of that, allow me to thank you. You have given me the gift of time as you read this. It is appreciated.

Thank you also for all you're doing to be a model man in today's difficult world. It's a world where thank-yous may be in short supply, but that's the funny thing: when you do the right thing, it has a way of making you feel good anyway.

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