So my recent feel-good moment happened the other day when the cleaning lady for the office came by to do her regular evening maintenance. She is a very sweet lady and always greets everyone warmly. We had had a team meeting earlier that day and had some leftovers that were better off being taken home than left in the fridge.
Normally one of us would get dibs on it but this time, I decided to offer it up to the lady – just because. I made a point to go into the kitchen when I would normally just stay at my desk. She was so delighted at the offer. Her eyes just lit up with gratitude, which made me feel that much better.
Shortly after giving her the dishes, she paused what she was doing and started telling me a story about her grand-daughter (can’t quite remember the details), but she just began to open up more about her personal life. This likely would not have occurred had I not interrupted her duties to offer up some food.
It turns out she has had a very tough life. I want to respect her privacy and not get into any details, but I’ll just say that she has endured a lot of heartache and tragedy in her life, and I was blown away by her strength and courage. While she has always been pleasant anytime she comes into the office, this time, I saw the more raw, authentic, side to her.
I know this might sound silly, but I feel like the offering of the food sparked what ended up being a 30 minute conversation. I showed kindness and in turn she felt comfortable enough to have someone to talk to. What was comforting to me was that it felt like she had wanted to talk to someone, as if she had been suppressing her feelings, because after we chatted, she looked more genuinely happier, and almost more relaxed as she carried on with what she was doing.
As the saying goes, everyone is fighting some sort of inner battle. There is always a struggle behind that smile – and I am personally humbled by the level of patience I, personally, have acquired over the years, keeping that in mind.
With a simple act of selflessness, you never know who’s day you might be able to brighten or what sort of escape you might be able to provide to someone just longing to have that comforting ear.