It was a beautiful Sunday morning in early August and I was enjoying an old section of Delaware, Ohio. I had just delivered a book to a Little Library in front of the beautiful Andrews House Community Center when I heard a woman crying and ranting as she ran in my direction. “I can’t believe he said that to me, I can’t believe he said that to me, I can’t believe he called me a nigger.”
By the time she said the last sentence she was within reach of me and I immediately extended my arms and drew her into me as she sobbed. “How could he say that, I am a member of the committee that is to mend community race relations, I work at this very community center. How could he?”
As she expressed her anguish, a man approached and bore witness to her pain. He never said a word, just nodded in empathy and understanding. When she she finished he went on his way and she invited me in to see the center.
The building had housed the original hospital in the area and over the years it had been home to many different functions. Sandra shared stories of her time there and of her difficult life. She shared that Tom, the man who witnessed her pain, also has had a rough go of it. Again the power of listening, the power of witnessing.
When I was sure that Sandra was calm, I returned to Little Miss Red. As I opened her door I noticed that Tom had returned was handing something to Sandra. Then he came to me and offered me the smallest of roses, never saying a word. It was one of the kindest acts I have ever experienced. That little rose traveled with me for days, reminding me of how powerful simplest acts of kindness can be. Thank you Tom, thank you Sandra.
Sandra and Tom definitely became Road Angels!
Kindness: First to yourself and others!
What’s your kind of quotient today?