A neighbor recently shared this story. My neighbor was on a plane, sitting next to a little autistic girl wearing leg braces who was accompanied by her mother. The little girl held a stuffed bear, which she had named ‘Kindness’.
Perhaps not coincidentally with a bear of that name, the little girl was very affectionate with everyone she met including my neighbor, offering kisses, high-fives and introductions to her bear. To some people she may have been disruptive, for her mother gently had to redirect her several times and to caution her daughter to lower her voice.
When they reached the destination, the mother tried to get off the plane ahead of the crowd, but her daughter needed extra help. She kept telling her little girl ‘to hold onto Kindness’ and having to stop so her little girl could take time to hug the bear. Naturally, this made it slow going for the passengers behind them.
After disembarking, my neighbor approached the mom and told her what a great job she was doing with her daughter. Then the mom shared that the little girl was having an operation on her legs. The mom also shared that she (mom) was tired-and suffering from brain cancer.
As my neighbor observed, you never know what another person is going through….
I had a similar situation recently where someone with whom I was doing business stopped communicating. It was very stressful because payments to me were long overdue and I didn’t know what was going on. Later I learned that the man’s wife had died 18 months ago, his daughter had recently committed suicide, and that another daughter was threatening suicide. When I went to his supervisor and everything was finally resolved, the supervisor said, “We all thought he was doing better…”
We all need to hold onto kindness.
May we pursue our paths, making compassion and kindness our default choice whenever possible,