Originally Published: October 5, 2017 6:04 a.m.
I left my office one evening with a dozen thoughts about work still lingering on my mind. With appointments to keep and children to feed, I paid little attention to what was going on around me. I found myself standing in line at a local fast food restaurant looking at my watch and hoping I could hurry through yet another task.
It was then I noticed the employees, taking orders, serving food and getting people on their way. One woman in particular seemed to be trying extra hard to keep things running smoothly for the customers and her coworkers. You may have observed a worker like her before — the kind of employee who tries to smile and stay positive even when things are busy and staffing may be inadequate.
She went about her duties until something delightfully surprising caught her off guard.
Two young boys timidly walked into the restaurant with a bouquet of flowers. The older boy presented the worker with the flowers and told her they just wanted to thank her for working so hard. Then the boys simply smiled and left. I asked the woman if she knew them and she said no, but they had been in the restaurant earlier that evening.
This small act of kindness had changed the moment. It was no longer just another busy day for this woman and those of us who witnessed the gesture. It was now a heart-touching reminder that there are good things happening all around us that can go unnoticed or unrecognized.
Perhaps the more important revelation for me that evening was the idea that someone must have been standing behind those boys. Not physically, because I saw the children come into the restaurant alone, but someone’s influence was there.
Someone, most likely their parents or grandparents, was teaching and encouraging these two boys to show gratitude, to recognize the good things that people do for them, and to take the time to say thank you.
There was so much power in that brief moment that I will never forget it.
I am grateful for those two boys and their act of kindness. But I also want to recognize whoever was standing behind them, nurturing them with example and encouragement to be fine, caring people. Our world could certainly use more of you. This is one way we can fight the darkness.
Richard Haddad is Director of News & Digital Content for Western News&Info, Inc., the parent company of The Daily Courier.