Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Kind Words Leave Lasting Impression
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. ♦