Have you ever met someone briefly and knew that they were good? When you talked to them, they made you feel instantly comfortable? Last week, we had one of many companies out to do an estimate on finishing off our basement. One company in particular was a design-build company that was more than double all of our other bids. The woman who came out to represent their company was in her twenties and was one of their designers. Very soon after her arrival, it was apparent to my Husband and I that this company was going to be nowhere in our ballpark, and we let her know right away. But, this girl was so KIND. Not just “she had great customer service” kind, but kind in the way that we could tell she had a good heart in just the first few minutes of her being in our home. Even though we all agreed that we weren’t going to move forward with her company for our project, she still asked us if we wanted her to look at the basement and she could give us some ideas anyway. By the time she was leaving, she had given us great design ideas, tips about working with contractors, and we had each shared stories about our little ones. She told us she was also looking at getting her basement finished, but her company was out of budget for her, so we all parted ways under the agreement that if either of us found a great contractor to work with that was in our price range, we would pass the name along to the other. About two hours after she left, I received a text from her starting with “Hey, Girl” and including the name of a contractor’s name that she had received after doing some asking around. Talk about real. And kind. She was an incredible example of the saying that what people remember about you after you are gone is partly what you say and do, but mostly how you made them feel. We had a lot of different companies over the course of that week and I couldn’t tell you which company she was with, but I could tell you how she made us feel. Like our world needs more people like her in it. I will definitely be looking back at our notes to find out which company she was with so I can tell them how great she is!
She inspired me to look at myself and how I impact people around me. There are many different seasons in life. Some are busier, more exciting, more stressful, more joyous, more worrisome, more chaotic or a combination. It is one thing to work on relationships with those who are fixtures in our lives – our spouse, kids, family, friends, co-workers, children’s teachers, etc. But, it is another to leave the tiny interactions we have with people we will never see again feeling impacted. There is no second chance. You can’t call that Dental office back when you are less busy to make up for sounding short because little ones were in the background demanding your attention. Well, I guess you could, but…would you? When it is a tiny interaction, you have one shot to be kind and make them feel as valued as they are. It is like a once in a lifetime opportunity to make someone smile. When I am checking out at Target, I usually say a quick “Hi!” as I toss my items on the belt, swipe my card, then go through my shopping list in my head and mentally cross each one off to make sure nothing is forgotten, while also tending to my toddlers who are anxious to get out of there. Then after making very brief eye contact for only a second time to say “Thank you!” with a rushed smile, I grab my bags and make a beeline for the door. Okay, so I squeezed in a “Hi”, “Thank You” and a forced smile. I could argue that I checked all the boxes for “checkout etiquette, but really…could I have done better? We can be so consumed by all of the things that “need” to get done that those that those small, inconspicuous interactions can too easily be rushed away, but in reality those small encounters add up and make up a part of who we are.
So, this New Year/Lenten season, I am going to work on those tiny interactions and remember that I have to the power to shine a little light on a stranger’s day.