Grateful—play it forward


In a world where everything seems to be spinning in the wrong direction, a few incidents have come to mind which show that there are positives.


Last night at our monthly meeting of the Widow’s Bite, we were talking as we normally do.  One of our widows, Judie, wanted to tell us of her experience.  She went on to tell how she arrived at her dermatologist’s appointment late because the person who was her driver was late picking her up.  She called the doctor’s office to let them know that she was going to be late.  The receptionist asked if, depending on her arrival time, it would be OK to see her at 1:00 after lunch.  What could Judie say, after all, she was late for her appointment.   Judie arrived at the office, and was filling out the paperwork.  Not too far into the forms, the receptionist asked Judie if it would be OK to see her after lunch, at 1:00.  Judie replied in the affirmative, asking where there was a decent place for her to go to have lunch in the meantime.   The receptionist told her of the one restaurant that she would recommend, but added that it was somewhat pricey.   Judie reflected on this information, and told the receptionist that she would be there in the waiting room when the office staff returned.


Judie lost herself in the mountain of HIPPA forms.  She heard the door open, and in walks the receptionist with a plate of lunch.  I don’t remember what specifically Judie told me was on the plate, but it was yummy.   Judie said that she would definitely return to that dermatologist.


Her story prompted one of my own:   I travel quite a bit, and it is not unusual for me to break a nail handling my heavy luggage.  Normally I arrive at the destination during daylight hours, and am able to find a nail salon for a repair. My last trip to San Francisco put me at my hotel at 11:00 pm or so.   True to form, I had broken a nail on the overhead bin on my flight from Houston to Memphis.   United had cancelled my direct flight, so I had to adjust my schedule.  At any rate, the conference I was attending started at 8:30 the next morning, so nothing could be done about my nail but to camouflage it with a Band-Aid.


When we broke for lunch, I asked the receptionist at the hotel if there was a nail salon within walking distance.  Yes there was, she said, and gave me the directions.   I took off on foot, (heels and all) in the direction proffered by the receptionist.  I had walked about two miles, when I came to a strip center housing a nail salon.  The salon had several technicians and was somewhat busy.  I explained that I was here on business, and needed a quick repair.   The faces were not friendly, and I was told to come back later in the afternoon.


Dejected and somewhat frustrated, I began the hike back to the hotel.  As I was making my way to the main street, I noticed a hair salon.  I popped in to see if they knew of another nail salon within walking distance.   They beauticians started talking amongst themselves and came to the conclusion that there was, in fact, another salon, but it was two miles from the hotel, in the opposite direction.   As they were talking, the woman in the chair asked her stylist when she felt her work would be complete.  The stylist replied five to ten minutes.   The woman then looked at my reflection in her mirror, and asked me if I minded waiting for her, that when she was finished, she would be happy to drive me to the salon.    What could I say, but Thank You!


I went out of the salon and sat on a bench.  When the lady was finished with her appointment she met me, and we set off in her car.  On the way to the salon, she told me that if they could fit me right in, she would be happy to wait for me, and then take me back to my hotel.   I was very fortunate to find happy faces at this new salon. Within five minutes, my nail was repaired, and we were on our way back to my hotel.   I offered my impromptu chauffeur some cash for her kindness, but she refused.  She said that she had not gone out of her way, and she had nothing better to do with her time.


As I reflected on these stories, I had to ask myself what would I have done had the shoe been on the other foot?  Would I have taken time out of my busy schedule to help a stranded traveler, or a widow in need of sustenance?   How many opportunities do I miss every day?  How many do you?   Let’s look for opportunities to play it forward, and find some moments in these stressful times to make a positive difference.


Until next time,