Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Kind Words Leave Lasting Impression

I was working a temporary job at the corporate offices of American Airlines in Ft. Worth. As noon approached, I headed to the parking garage, anticipating a quiet lunch alone.

The garage was huge—10 levels in all—and each day I had to park in a different spot. Today, I had parked on Level 2, near the skywalk. Or was that yesterday?

Suddenly, it occurred to me that my car was nowhere near where I thought I parked it. Perhaps I parked on Level 3. No.

Level 4? No.

Realizing I couldn’t inspect the entire garage without some assistance, I trudged toward the front lobby. Maybe someone at the security desk could help.

Upon arrival, my feet were killing me, my stomach was growling and a migraine headache wasn’t far behind. To make matters worse, the lobby was bustling with wide-eyed visitors.

Hoping nobody noticed the exasperated woman in high-heel shoes, I walked over to the elderly gentleman keeping watch behind the desk. “Uh, sir,” I whispered awkwardly, “I can’t find my car. Do y’all have a car finder or something?”

Without changing expressions, the old man picked up the phone and dialed for help. Minutes later, “help” arrived in a white van with yellow lights flashing on top.

Mortified beyond words, I swallowed my last ounce of pride, donned my sunglasses and hobbled out the glass doors. Within seconds, the driver of the van—a handsome fellow with beautiful curly hair—jumped out to meet me.

“I’m so embarrassed,” I told him. “I can’t find my car.”

“Well, let’s go find it,” he said enthusiastically, flashing a set of dazzling white teeth. “Don’t you be embarrassed one bit. Just consider me your escort.”

In all honesty, his words startled me. I expected him to be totally annoyed that some dumb woman had lost her car and was taking up his valuable time with absolute nonsense. But he wasn’t upset at all. In fact, he was excited about the job at hand. And, like magic, my sagging spirits lifted immensely as I climbed in beside him.

Of course, my car was found within minutes—on Level 1—and I never saw the curly-haired guy again. But the words he spoke (and the way they made me feel) remain with me to this day. Just three short sentences. Yet they turned a frustrating situation into a fun and exciting adventure for two.

Mother Teresa once said, "Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless."

Sadly, the echoes of cruel words are endless, too, and we should be mindful of that each time we open our mouths to speak: Our words can heal or they can hurt, and either way, they'll be remembered forever. ♦


  1. What a good reminder of the power of words. Words can be kind and comforting, or words can be rude and hurtful.

  2. Words are so powerful. I remember my Grandmother telling me to be careful what you say. For words, like tooth paste squeezed from the tube, once spoken ... can never be unspoken.

  3. Excellent writing. Wonderful story. Oh how we all need kindness. We need to show kindness to others and be grateful when we experience the same from others.

  4. I love this and it's funny...on my main blog...I posted about kindness. Have a great week and you're not alone in forgetting where you parked. done it many times. :)

  5. What a wonderful example of kindness shown. I can identify with losing the car. It's very upsetting when it isn't where you thought it was. Always makes one wonder if it has been stolen. Thank you for sharing this delightful story with us.

  6. What a great story and a great illustration! And so encouraging to me to know I'm not the only one to temporarily misplace a vehicle! :)

  7. Words are indeed a powerful thing!
    I love your story...because of it's powerful good words!

  8. So very true. How many of us can remember a time when that word aptly spoken (or "upon the wheel" ~ grin)was just the thing we needed to calm the nerves and give us the assurance that everything really was going to be OK.

    And just so you know, the minute that I read the dazzling white smile part, the hopeless romantic in me was writing the end of the story to something dinner and a movieish. It's a sickness for which I suppose I need some help.

    Great post.