While I am in the midst of a job search for a new way to provide an income for our home, I have a bit more time to do some reading – news articles, etc. Before, it was glance at the headlines, do a speed-read, and move on. Often-times, I ignored the news altogether. Not quite the ostrich and sand approach, but fairly close. Take one look at the headlines about what is going on, and what are the headline topics? The same disgustingly familiar negative stuff we see and hear every day - Scandal, Waste, Fraud, etc. Wonderful stuff - NOT. Did you read much about someone doing something nice for someone? Who is kidding who here? What, someone did nice for a complete stranger – what kind of news is that??!! Perhaps, just perhaps, if we could get away from the scurrilous bottom-feeders and their myopic lot, and look for the positives in what is going on around you, folks might take a different approach to putting on the blinders when walking down a city street, or at the mall. There are a whole bunch of different groups and agencies who promote this. Check out the ads from the United Methodist Church. They promote ‘helping others by doing the right thing’. So do several companies. It doesn’t take much to generate one instance of kindness that sparks a desire in others to ‘do the right thing’. This comes from the well-known promotions we see, to lesser-known ones we don’t generally know much about, except as generally less than positive views. What do a couple of the biggest railroads in the Nation, one of the key founders of Microsoft and people you have never heard of except perhaps on PBS have in common? They really do have a serious commitment to the community. I’m not talking about paying mere lip service, but BILLIONS of invested dollars and volunteer hours to helping others. There are organizations galore that help – Kiwanis, Masons, Lions, Knights of Columbus, to name but a few, who help others without fanfare. Okay, fine. These are big name groups, companies, and individuals with mega-bucks who do this. What about Joe Ordinary who merely does something as simple as giving directions in a busy place to people who are completely lost? How about Joe Ordinary who not only does that, but walks with them to make sure they get to the right place? Now, Joe Ordinary has moved up a notch to Joe Extraordinary. It happens in the most ordinary yet extra-ordinary way. Simply look around you to see what I’m talking about. I’ll give you a more clearly defined moment – We went to Chapel Hill, NC to visit our friend and her daughter who is in the UNC hospital. I’m not a big fan of hospitals to begin with; anyway, we were quite lost in trying to locate which set of elevators to use to get to the room. A young gentleman, who works in the hospital and is a full-time college student, saw that we needed some guidance. He took the time to not just make sure we knew where to go, but went with us to the floor and made sure the nurse there knew we were going to Room 4xxx. Yep, the hospital is that large. A simple act of kindness made all the difference in the world that day. When we returned home, it took me about 5 minutes of Google to find out who’s who at UNC-CH Hospital. I sent an email to the executive assistant of the Dean of UNC Hospital, outlining our experience with this young gentleman and that we were truly thankful for his time and patient courtesy. I received a response the next day, on a Saturday morning, at 7am; from the executive assistant. Wow – that tells me a whole lot about UNC Hospitals. A key member of executive management of one of the most recognized hospitals in the nation is responding to an email at 7am on a Saturday morning? What gives with that? I had figured that if anything, I would get an auto-reply at best. Whoo-Boy was I ever wrong!! Not only did she respond with a readily apparent sincere thank you, but she made sure that this young gentleman received a very nice thank you and award from the Dean himself. This happened within a week. Okay, there’s but one example of how we can do things in a positive way. How about some others? Take a look around you the next time you go into Starbucks® for your daily fix of sillyfrapachino with extra diet ice and hints of silliness to go. Is it the same person who puts it together each and every time? With a real smile? Hey… let’s keep that smile going and tell someone about it. A simple email or telephone call, unless you are really feeling like going the ‘old-fashioned’ route of a snail-mail letter, will generate a whole bunch of ‘gee thanks for taking the time to say thanks about Joe/Jane Extra-Ordinary that will make his/her day - and yours too.
Have a great week!!