Good morning, world!
I am subscribed to a free newsletter called HeroicStories. The theme is “Restoring Faith in Humanity…One Story at a Time.” So about once a week, I get a feel good story. The one I read today was called “Their Two Simple Gestures” archived at http://heroicstories.org/their-two-simple-gestures/ . It is the story of how a simple gesture of kindness resulted in a wonderful day. I”ll let you go read the story for yourself.
But reading this story reminded me of a man who literally changed my life. And that is the person I want to talk about.
I didn’t know who he was. I had never paid attention to him before. But one morning, while driving down a busy street a little too fast because we were running late to get to school, my kids asked me,
“Who is that man?”
“That man sitting on his porch. Why did he wave to us?”
“I don’t know. Maybe he is just a waver.”
“What’s a waver?”
I had just read a story in some magazine about people who are out of work, disabled, or retired, who either go to busy corners or sit out on their porch, and just wave and smile at people. Their goal was simply to give busy people some personal communication. I explained this to my boys as we went on to school. And I didn’t think anything about it.
But the next morning, again in my usual morning rush, the boys watched for him. He waved, they waved, and we rushed on. But over the next few weeks, my life started changing a little bit, simply because of that wave. I started waving, too. I was driving a little bit slower, a little safer. I noticed that on the days that I got that wave, I smiled more, even when I was feeling down. I was a more courteous driver on those days, and when I realized that, I started being more intentionally courteous even on the days that he wasn’t out on his porch, waving and smiling. I started taking things a little slower, was more appreciative of the things around me…In short, my life changed, simply because an old man sat out on his front porch during rush hour and waved at the passing cars.
A couple of years later, I was doing interviews for a medical company, and his address was on my list, so I actually got to meet him. Not too long after that, I quit seeing him out on his porch. I had learned during my interview that he was not in good health, and he had told me at the time that he wasn’t sure how much longer he was going to be around. I was so glad to have had the chance to tell him how he had changed my life for the better.
This man, that I didn’t even know, old, sick…he changed my life. I became a better person because he sat out on his porch and waved. I started treating other people better. I committed more random acts of kindness because of his influence.
Hundreds of cars passed his house every day. I have often wondered how many of those drivers were influenced by him, as well. How many of them had better days, simply because of a wave and a smile.
One person, with a simple action.
But it can change the world.