Are you listening?

      2 Comments on Are you listening?

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ― Leo Buscaglia

I recently had a phone conversation with a dear friend who is a longtime faculty member at the university where I work. He shared the story of a chance encounter that happened just before Christmas.

He had, at lunch one day, dropped in to visit a friend who runs a thrift store that benefits a local shelter for abused women. The friend had to go into the back room and left my friend waiting for a few moments. While waiting, my friend overheard a grandmother and her grandson who had come in to look at a bicycle that was in the store. The boy, my friend said, was looking at the bike as if it were made of pure gold even as the grandmother was explaining that she wouldn’t be able to afford to buy the bike because she’d lost her job and money was tight. The boy, with tears on his face, said he understood and that it was okay.

My friend felt moved to buy the bike for the boy and told him and his grandmother that Santa had just called and wanted him to have the bike. The boy, needless to say, was overjoyed with the gift and wanted to know what he could do to repay my friend’s kindness. My friend said that he should do well in school and, when he graduated, he needed to attend our university. He even gave the young man his business card and told him to give him a call if my friend could ever be of assistance.

That story is a wonderful illustration of the kind of caring and genuine concern for others that I am blessed to see put into action by my colleagues all the time. I was told the story, my friend said, in case I ever had a chance to share it for the school’s benefit; I asked if I could share it with you through The Pink Typewriter Project. You see, I think my friend is a wonderful example for us.

I tried putting myself into the scene, imagining that I was the one who’d stopped by for a visit and found myself waiting. I wonder if I would be focused on what I might find for myself or thinking of all the things I needed to do after I left. I wonder if I would have heard the grandmother and grandson having their conversation. Would I have even been listening?

The quote I shared today says, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

When I read that quote, it reminded me of my friend’s story. I can’t help but picture that young boy. I imagine that, when he rides his bike, the young boy will remember the kindness of a stranger. Maybe it will cause him to be more dedicated while he works on his homework, remembering my friend’s encouragement for him to pursue a college education. Who knows what the end result of that kindness might be? At the very least, it was a tear-filled hug of gratitude and huge smiles from both grandmother and grandson. It may well be a story that he tells some day as he does a kindness to another person.

Kindness is contagious, and I am actively praying that I’ll have opportunities to be generous, to spread happiness and joy with others — even strangers. Maybe it is paying for the coffee of the driver behind me one morning or randomly (and anonymously) picking up someone’s check at a restaurant. Maybe it’s sending a note or an email telling someone how grateful I am for him or her. Maybe it is just making sure I’m listening to conversations around me to see if I can make a difference in someone’s day.

In her very first Pink Typewriter Post, Dana wrote that we started The Pink Typewriter Project “to be grateful for our many blessings, to look outside of ourselves and explore the ways in which we can be a blessing to others, and to make a positive impact one good deed at a time.”

What if we decided to start an avalanche of good deeds? What if we all listened and looked for opportunities to do something kind for someone else? What if we decided that today we will actively try to brighten someone’s day? What if we did that on a random Tuesday or every Tuesday or every day that ends in “day”?

Will you join in? Feel free to share how you chose to brighten someone’s day in the comments below.

I'm in! I'll B part of the avalanche of good deeds & do something to brighten some1's day… Click To Tweet



2 thoughts on “Are you listening?

  1. Adrienne

    Hi Dawn,

    How very touching and what a kind soul your friend is. You are truly blessed to work with some wonderful people.

    I’m not sure what I would do honestly. I would hope that in a case like that I would be more open to actually helping that young boy too.

    We have SO many homeless people who live in my area that if I were to give to them all I would probably not be able to eat myself. Joking aside though, it’s sad. I do know that a lot of them, for whatever reason, choose to remain that way. So I’m not always eager to help people who aren’t willing to help themselves. In my mind, they wouldn’t appreciate the kind gesture. Most of them feel it’s owed to them.

    Thank you for sharing this with us and I’ll be sure to pass this along as well. I’m sure it will help touch someone else as well.


  2. Dana Thompson

    I love this story of generosity and I am so glad our friend was open to letting us share it here on PTWP. As you noted, this is exactly the kind of thing I had in mind when I wrote our mission statement. I do agree with Adrienne that sometimes it is difficult to identify those who are truly needing our help, but I think if we do as you said and be open and listening to those around us we will find the right time and the right cause for our gifts of service.

    I also try to remind myself that it is not always money that we need to give, but often our time and understanding can be just as powerful. What if we volunteered at a soup kitchen or read to the elderly at a local nursing home? These simple acts of kindness can mean so much. Every little bit of kindness we can put out there makes this world a better place.


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