by Donna Hatch
I never cease to be amazed at how often little acts of kindness people do, sometimes without realizing, it can have a profound effect upon others.
I was never really popular in school; we moved a lot and I seldom remained in any school longer than two years, and I was never a cheerleader, or had the lead in the school play, or was the star singer in choir, or was very pretty, or anything that makes people stand out in others’ memories. As a result, I’m often surprised when someone from years ago remembers me. Usually they don’t.
I recently had the opposite experience and it taught me that I never know who I may be influencing without ever knowing it.
A few weeks ago, just as I was leaving a store, I noticed a pretty lady waiting by the door talking on her cell phone. I noticed that she had vivid blue eyes and that she seemed to be watching me as I approached the store exit. As I passed her, she hurriedly ended the call and then called out, “Are you Donna?”
Surprised, I turned and replied that I was. She then proceeded to tell me that she remembered me from Girl’s Camp. I was a junior counselor and she was a new little first year. I suppose to a twelve year old, my eighteen-year old self might have seemed cool. I’m sure I didn’t appear that way to others. She told me how clearly she remembered me, and that she’d thought of me often in the years since. She said she remembered me for my kindness, and how I included everyone and loved everyone.
I can’t begin to relay how surprised I was. I had been an incredibly confused, rebellious teen and to have someone remember me in a good way touched me almost to the point of tears. After hugging her, I left, realizing how those little things we do can touch another in ways we may never know.
More than twenty years ago, I unknowingly did some small act of kindness for which she remembered me.
A few weeks ago, she remembered me, and told me she admired me. Me! Not really pretty, not popular, confused and rebellious. But as a twelve year old, she found some good in me to love and admire. And she took the time to tell me in that chance meeting.
And I will remember that act of kindness for at least the next twenty years.