February 15th, 2021
Kindness – It just might be contagious!
Greetings! I am writing this blog on a wintry Chicago day. It’s snowy and gray and feels like the kind of day where you just want to keep your pajamas on, read a good book or binge some Netflix while eating chocolate. And yet…my mood doesn’t really match the overcast feel of the day. In fact, I’m filled with gratitude for people that I don’t even know. At a time when we are faced with a lot of negative news and divisiveness, I’ve seen some light and goodness from a host of generous and kind strangers.
It began at Target this morning when I had to pick up a few incidentals (I’m trying to go at off times when the store is less busy – I might accidently have gone during senior hours as I felt like the youngest person there, which at the age of 54, is unusual!). I was behind an older woman in line who was struggling to find her gift cards in her large purse of which most of its contents were soon scattered on the ground. The young man at the checkout – Jason – was so kind and patient with her. He took the time to help her collect her things and calmed her frazzled nerves. He told her to take a few deep breaths and not to worry about anything. I stood in line and enjoyed watching this sweet exchange. The older woman was so thankful and left with a huge smile on her face. When Jason began scanning my items, he said, “Ma’am, I am so sorry that I took a little longer with the customer ahead of you. She was really struggling and well, she’s my grandma’s age. I just kept thinking about my grandma and how I would want someone to help her if she was in this same situation.”
Jason’s good will was a great start to my day. I arrived back home and began plugging away on my computer. I’ve been working with a not for profit to help build a development program from the ground up. I had several phone calls scheduled with folks that I had never met – that were introduced to me by other colleagues that thought they may have some perspective about this organization’s mission. I spoke to both Nicole and Cora…leaders of two different organizations that gave me loads of time and great ideas. Both of them, busy with their own work, and yet, carved out time to help me…a perfect stranger. In fact, when I thanked Nicole as we ended our call, she said, “This is important…it’s about all of us working together so that we can impact the community that we all serve.”
One nice person after the other, looking out for and helping someone else for the greater good. Asking for nothing in return. I felt inspired by everyone’s kindness and willingness to go the extra mile. I am going to make sure I follow their lead…who knows, it might just be contagious!
P.S. When I approached the store manager to tell her about Jason, she first looked at me wearily and braced herself for a complaint. After I told her my story, she lit up and said, “You literally made my day.” But the best was actually Jason’s beaming face that I saw as I was leaving the store. The manager had shared the story over the employee radios and as I walked out of the store, I heard over and over “Way to go, Jason!”
Written by Senior Consultant Susanna Decker
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