“You probably don’t remember me.”
At that moment, I would have agreed with her assessment, even though her face seemed familiar. She shifted her little boy to her right hip and stepped closer. Other grocery shoppers went on about their business, oblivious to the scene that was unfolding.
“Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I saw you here, I just wanted to say ‘thank you.'”
The young woman, whose name was Kim, must have seen my confusion. She continued to explain that once, several years before, she worked as a temporary receptionist for our law firm.
“I had no idea what I was doing with the phones. My first day, I accidentally hung up on one of your biggest clients — three times. When I went to your office to tell you, you just smiled, told me that you knew the phone number, and that you would return his call,” Kim’s voice trembled a bit. “I just knew you would have me fired. But after you returned that call, you came up to my desk, showed me how to transfer calls, and told me that I was doing a good job.” Her eyes turned a bit misty. “I’ll never forget that. Thank you.”
I muttered something about it “being nothing.” Kim’s smile told me it was indeed “something,” whether I knew it or not.
So, on that day with her soft “thanks,” Kim showed me a new way to celebrate Thanksgiving. For more than 20 years now, I have made it my tradition to seek out and thank individuals who shared a special moment that blessed me. Some of those exchanges were years before. Some just weeks. But every year, either by phone or written note, I get the opportunity to say thanks to some people who have quietly rescued me with an act of kindness.
I don’t consider the small kindness I showed Kim to be worthy of mention. I do find her instant of genuine gratefulness to be life-changing — a grateful confrontation.