Day 20 - Social
Have you ever seen a magic trick? Whether sophisticated with lights and smoke or simple sleight of hand— it’s an act that leaves your mouth open with awe and your mind pricked with enchantment. It’s the reaction we have when we observe something truly extraordinary.
When I was about 13 years old, my family and I were spending a vacation in St. Augustine, Florida. My family frequents this beautiful city quite often and this time we were in old town treating ourselves to the classiest of breakfasts… Denny’s. My memory of that particular vacation comes with fuzzy edges but one interaction that day in a diner comes clear as glass to my consciousness.
We had recently been seated and were perusing our choices amongst “Grand Slams” and “Moon’s Over My Hammy” (my sister’s favorite) when our waitress approached. She was an ordinary woman, nice-enough in appearance, likely aged in her mid to late 30’s. A majority of us rattled off our orders without much attention to her, beyond the typical niceties you exchange with your waitress.
After completing our order, my dad did something he frequently does (which often embarrassed my three teenage siblings and me). He started engaging the waitress in conversation. All I could think about from my self-absorbed teenage perspective was the delay in my pancakes. Yet, clearly my father paid no mind as he smiled at her somewhat surprised look by the expression of personal interest. He started with something simple, “How long have you worked here?” and “Do you enjoy it?” As appreciation for individual recognition began to spread across her countenance, they (my mom, dad and this woman) began discussing deeper matters of life.
I stared on from my seat near the end of the table with incredulous curiosity. The waitress was a single mother and she had recently moved to St. Augustine with her daughter. Her daughter was Deaf and they’d moved to the area so she could attend the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. As she talked about her daughter, her love and dedication was palpable. This was further evidenced by the fact that she took a job at Denny’s in order to provide the best education possible for her daughter.
Our meal progressed but every time she returned, my father inquired more about her life. At one point I actually remember them discussing religion. Was my dad really talking about God with a stranger in a breakfast chain? Yes, he was. Although, she wasn’t a stranger anymore. Now she was Tracy. She was an individual. A person with family, responsibilities and beliefs. When my father left that day, I happened to glance down and see the tip he wrote on the check. Math was always my worst subject but it wasn’t hard to tell the amount was far beyond that of our six meals.
My dad saw my stare and smiled at me. He put his arm around me and started talking about Tracy, her daughter who was Deaf and the amazing opportunities she would have at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. My mind was still processing all that I’d observed while he steered me towards our car. My dad didn’t explain or broadcast, he just smiled in a way that seemed to say, “We all need a little kindness sometimes." One of the last things I remember him saying to me as we left the parking lot was, “Wouldn’t it be great if one day you could help the Deaf?”
Kindness. I’d seen it modeled and discussed countless times growing up. Yet, this moment struck me and left its mark on the impressionable youth I was. What my father prized more than his vacation, breakfast, time or money… was people. It left me wide-eyed and open mouthed as though I’d just observed a magician pulling a rabbit from a black hat.
And just like all great magic, it planted a seed of intrigue in my heart. “Wouldn’t it be great if one day you could help the Deaf?”
Eleven years later, I became an audiologist.
We all need a little kindness sometimes. The remarkable thing about when we extend this magical act of humanity is that it often comes back to us like a boomerang, benefitting our life more than we ever could imagine when releasing it. Watch this five minute clip, Kindness Boomerang, to see the remarkable ripple effect that can follow one simple act. Afterwards, pick one way you will show kindness today. If you’re seeking inspiration, check out the following 101 easy ideas for random acts of kindness. Go ahead, throw it out there— then let the magic happen as it all comes back to you.
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[jbox title="About the Author:" border="5" radius="15"] Megan is a Doctor of Audiology, Certified Holistic Nutritionist, wife, yoga-lover and ever-evolving health aspirer. Having transformed her own health, she’s eager to help you transform yours. She believes in power in its purest form: FOOD. Whole foods, to be precise. So pick up a fork and join her in a revolution of habits, health and happiness. A WHOLE new life awaits! Read more about her reformation of health and wellness at My Whole Food Habit.[/jbox]