“Catching Rays" is a regular column that focuses on little rays of sunshine that can brighten up your life – inspirational notes, quotes, people, and good vibes only. So grab a pair of your coolest shades, stop rolling your eyes, and join me.
“One recent morning, I awoke to one of life’s dreaded inconveniences: a suspicious charge on my credit card bill. Why so dreaded? Well, because this means I now had to CALL my credit card company, possibly spend precious time on hold, and THEN speak with a grouchy, underpaid representative. I called Visa to ask various questions regarding my bill. As I’m being transferred to a representative I paused and took a deep breath awaiting the possible frustrations on the horizon. After chatting with a lovely woman operator for ten minutes, I was surprised at the quality of kindness my new BFF showed me. I started chatting with her about “parenting struggles,” and “recipe exchanges” like crock pot chili. It might not have gotten that deep (or far), but it was surprisingly enjoyable. I got off the phone with a sense of delight, instead of the usual relief that the call was over. Then I promptly forgot about it and went on with my day.
A couple of weeks later on a fall afternoon, a package arrived on our doorstep. It was a large brown box with a national Cheryl’s cookie company return address. The box was addressed to our little family. I brushed the crisp leaves aside and opened the big brown box to reveal 24 individually wrapped yummy sugared pumpkin cookies waiting to be munched on. Inside was a note:
“Have a fun week with your sweet daughter. It was refreshing helping you on the phone with your credit card questions. You were so patient and kind. I thought you would enjoy sharing cookies with the ones you love.”
It was signed by the customer service rep from the card company and, of course, it made my day! What a lovely gesture that filled my heart with warmth. Who knows exactly why she followed through on such a kind act? But it prompted me to do the same for others that day.
Follow through on kindness. The world needs it. We have complicated, busy lives. Perhaps working with students, juggling multiple responsibilities, and roles. We all know it’s difficult to make the time to do these gestures. Someone once told me to “throw kindness around like confetti.” There are no life meters hanging about gauging our levels of gratitude, good attitudes, or happiness. There is no kindness quota ("ding ding ding, please stop, that's all the kindness for today”). It's quite the opposite – the more kindness you share with those you encounter, the more they direct kindness back at you – and at others. We should keep shining light on other people, whether it’s opening a door for someone, texting a friend to let them know you are thinking of them, giving a compliment, smiling, using your manners, or picking up a tab (fill in the blank here – you get where I’m going). We should all be more like Sarah at Capitol One and gather all the kindness we can muster. Go on and pick up a heaping handful, and throw it all over. In the end, kindness is what people remember...isn't it?