Miscellaneous, Pages from the Past

Small Kindnesses

*Written July 8, 2016


Never underestimate the impact of a kind word.

I just got off the phone with a complete stranger and I am crying.

My phone has been ringing off the hook with nursing travel agencies wanting to know if I am still in the market to take a travel assignment. As a newly single mom and primary custodian of children aged 13, 11, and 8, I am not.

As an aside, here is a fact about me. I hate talking on the phone. I go out of my way to avoid it, in fact. I always have. You are in a lonely place, however, when the phone rings and although you know that it is most likely another travel agency (4th that day), you are grateful to hear the phone ring.

Shelby was my kind stranger today. I have a generic speech that I have rehearsed and give to all the agency representatives. “Due to life circumstances I am no longer in the market for a travel assignment but I will keep your agency in mind for the future.” Typically we exchange pleasantries, they update their database and the call ends.

Not Shelby. She asked a few more questions and wanted to know what I was looking for and what I was able to do. I revealed I was a newly single mom and needed flexibility and to stay local. We chatted a bit about that and she told me that her mom was a nurse and raised her all on her own and that she was the awesomest person in the world.

Today happened to be a very difficult parenting day. The kind of day that when your husband arrives home you want to say “tag–you’re it” and then walk out the front door. There is no one to tag though. Hearing this young woman speak so highly of her mother who single-handedly  raised her in spite of her difficult circumstances was of course all it took to get the tears flowing.

She offered some very helpful tips in looking for the kind of work I was seeking locally and offered to help in any way she could in the future whether it was with her company or not.

Yep. Floodgates open. Tears falling. Voice quavering as I thank her sincerely for her help and kindness.

She is now programmed in my phone as “Shelby.”

I won’t ever forget the kindness of a stranger today. Nor will I underestimate the opportunity that I have to make a difference in somebody else’s life. No matter how small.

Thank you Shelby for brightening my day.


think deeply

speak gently

love much

…. and be kind.


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