Monday, May 4, 2009

TT - A Strangers Random Act Of Kindness

Last Thursday I got off the plane in San Francisco and walked to the exit to find the hotel shuttle. The signage at that airport is more confusing than trying to read the tags on the grocery store spice rack. (Too much info; not enough clear substance.)
So I am standing in an area where I am kind of boxed in on each side. There are no windows, just a tall metal wall on each side of me. What happens next was something that is very hard to capture in words. For the next 5 min of my life I will do my best to explain and paint the events for you to feel them the way I did.

Suddenly I hear:
“Sir”...“Sir”...“Hello, Sir”.
I think to myself, is this voice speaking to me? I peak around the corner to my right and see this little colored lady sitting in an info booth. She motions to me to come over.
“How can I help you? You look lost.”

I explain that I am looking for the hotel shuttle area. She tells me where to go and as I begin to thank her, she makes eye contact with me, and then out of the blue she gently, but with purpose, reaches across the desk and straightens my tie and picks a few small pieces of lint from my suit jacket. Then in that signature way that many of the older colored woman have expressing enthusiasm she says,

“ OOOOh boy, you look nice today. Are you here for an interview?”

I'm kind of taken aback. OK, how would she have any clue I am here for an interview? I quickly reply:

"Yes ma'am, I am." For some reason I cannot explain I say, "I have been out of work for more than 2 months." She smiles, still locking in with eye contact and says,

“Can I hold your right hand?”
I obliged. She then asks me to close my eyes. I do, but keep one ¼ slightly open, not knowing what she is going to do, but not wanting to be disrespectful to what I, in my gut, felt were probably good intentions. What happened next was nothing short of amazing to me. She cupped her hands around mine, closed her eyes and her lips began to move as if she was saying a prayer in a low whisper. As she prayed her hands moved ever so gently in a circular motion around my much larger hand. This was so surreal. I felt like I was in a time warp of such an odd, yet loving, authentic and pure moment of human kindness. It was peaceful, yet so empowering.

“Sir, you can open your eyes,” she said still holding my hand.
I looked into her eyes yearning for understanding and trying to make sense of all this. Without provocation she says,

“I wanted to give you strength and good karma.”

Me, still in this trance like moment reply, "Thank you, thank you very much. I really appreciate that. I do."

She replies with steeled conviction “I know you do dear, I could feel it.” “You have a wonderful day.”
Still looking at her I reply, "Thank you, you do the same."

I turn slowly as though I am in some kind of trance and walk towards the exit again. Now knowing where I am supposed to go and trying to internalize this huge expression of human kindness, my mind is turning over questions at mock speed. She did not know me. No way could she have known I had an interview. She did not have to do what she did. Why me? How did she pick me out of the crowd? All I can say is that she had a profound impact on my day and a resounding impact on my life’s outlook.

I walked back by the same info booth 4 hours later as I returned to fly home. I wanted to thank her again. She was gone. No info pamphlets, nothing. The booth desk was clear and void of everything.

You know, if each of us could find a way to conduct ourselves with such an unselfish, pay it forward manner, our world would be such a kinder, gentler place to reside. I hope you can all find a way to make a difference in someone's life this week. If even just a kind or supportive word, for kind words are the most powerful of all the worlds' riches.

(I told this story to my mom that night upon return. On the other end of the phone I heard sniffles. I asked her what was wrong. She proceeded to tell me that she had a similar experience many years ago after my sister was born and was in PICU. A little old colored nun that she new from the hospital came and asked is she could light a candle for my sister. Then proceeded to hold her hand and let her know my sister would be ok.)

Tuesday's Tribute

Keep ON Rock'in In The Free World


angie said...

I have goosebumps. Still. What an amazing story. I'm glad you shared it. I can actually imagine how it must have felt to have her holding your hand.

How did the job interview go?

Christy said...

WOW. That absolutely made my day, said with tears in my eyes.

Em said...

I'm with the other ladies - goosebumps and tears. I so hope it went well. Em

(So sorry I complained about my boys. Off to love on them and remember that I am deeply grateful to have this extra time with Oldest. One random act of kindness...)

The Mom Jen said...

Eerie, cool, powerful! How did the interview go!?

Dani said...

Hi Tony,

Todd told me that I had to read your entry...

What an amazing story!!! I wish you well and best of luck!

Anonymous said...

Tony!!!!!!!!! OMGoodness - what an amazing, touching story! You know exactly when I need a boost! I totally needed it.. I could actually "see" what you described and feel it as well. You seriously need to submit this to Chicken Soup For the Soul. I've had 2 storied published before and this is exactly what they would love. They pay $250 per story too! ;-) Just go to their site: and then select the "submit story" tab and look @ all of their potential title stories and see which one this would fit. It's absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing with me!

Lisa May

The Frugal Angel-Guided Psychic said...

Oh, so very WONDERFUL!

Thank you for sharing this special experience!

Good energy always come back-- full circle.

Anonymous said...

This is amazing! Are you sure you shouldn't try a job as a writer!??!?!?!


Anonymous said...

I just love your blog, I mean really love it, thanks so much for sharing. You have a gift and maybe one of your next careers should have something to do with writing, maybe a big magazine, you have a really nice gift there.

Sending hugs your way, cause you know I am just a feely touchy type of girl.

Hugs to Colleen.

Tina Dennis

Anonymous said...

Tony, that’s a great story.

How did the interview go?


Wayne Garcia
KPTV Anchor

Anonymous said...

Thanks T that was awesome.

Deb said...

oh how cool. this was definitely worth the wait to read! truly amazing. and so very unlike my experiences in the airport, of late!

Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub said...

I think it is safe to say that she was your angel. :) What an amazing story and I hope that the strength and good karma comes back to you in the form of a job offer.