A friend and I recently had a great laugh over how often I begin my stories with “I wasn’t even supposed to be there”.
On an overcast, chilly afternoon last week, I side-tracked my journey home slightly for a dash into the post office. As I have mentioned in the past, my small town’s bank and post office share a building.
As I made my exit, I noticed a woman trudging up the sidewalk. I love holding doors for people, no matter how far away they may be. They often pick up the pace to a jog, then slow down as I exclaim, with a smile: “Ma’am (or Sir), no need to run. I am self-employed and have nothing more important to me right now than holding a door for a good person like yourself.”
Instead of the customary ‘thank you’ without breaking stride (which I will gratefully accept, every time), this woman stopped and looked into my eyes. “It is so nice to someone doing such a kind thing”, she said. “I just had a woman honking her horn at me and yelling because I slowed down to let someone take a parking spot. She had a small child in the car with her, and I thought that was a terrible example she set for him.”
Armed with my standard reply to her thanks, I informed her that I get to spend my day, every day adding positive energy to the world around me.
When asked how, I told her of my speaking career and my determination to make the world a better place through acts of kindness.
“Bless you” was her answer, as she held out her hand and continued “My name is Norma-Lou.”
“Hi, Norma-Lou, I’m Steve.” Then looking at her hand, asked: “Would you rather have a hug?”
Up came her arms and there we were, strangers sharing a comforting hug.
When she leaned back, I noticed tears in her eyes. She then softly spoke of how nice it was to discover a kind person in her travels that day.
I felt the same way. At that moment she was my kind person!
“Well, I’d better be getting into the bank to make sure I’m not in trouble”, she laughed. “Do you have a business card? I’d love to have you come speak to our church group.”
“Sure, I’ve got one in the car…wait, you’re not robbing the bank, right?”
With a laugh, she told me she’d be out in a few minutes.
My short walk to the Honda gave me an idea. I could give her a card, and hope she would call for some more positivity…or I could give her a gift that could last all year long, maybe even a lifetime.
I spied a copy of my latest release “OH YEAH! (Another Quote Book)” in the back seat and decided to give it to her. I won’t lie, a small voice in my head reminded me that a speaking business is a business, and this book retails for $25.00 plus shipping. I will be out of business if I start giving all my materials away.
But, this moment was the perfect moment to transcend finances and keep in mind my true mission, sharing positive energy with the world.
When she finally exited the bank (minus the dye-pack moneybags, to my delight), I asked for the correct spelling of her name and autographed the book.
Then the tears came…with a great big appreciative hug.
After parting ways, I walked back to my car and pondered what had just happened.
As I pulled out of my space and headed for the exit, I saw Norman-Lou peering into each car as it passed. When her eyes caught mine, she smiled and waved me over. In her hand was a CD, which she asked me to take. It was a collection of music written and performed by a young local artist.
What a generous gift!
As the musical backdrop for my 15-minute ride home, I got to sample three of four songs from the disc.
They were really good!
I will now forever have a reminder of the afternoon my detour led me to the golden road of appreciation and kindness.
Norma-Lou, thank you for being there and allowing me to hold that door!