A Lesson in Kindness from an Unlikely Source
There is a crossing guard at a school in our neighborhood who makes such a difference in my life— just by waving at me in the mornings as I drive by. My kids don’t go to that school, and I’ve never had a conversation with this man, but I swear to you I love him. His smile each morning, and the kindness I see him show the young kids he is helping, make a difference in the tenor of my mornings. Each day as I drive by, I see him high five-ing kids, saying friendly words to parents, smiling and seeming to really enjoy his job.
Each day I drive by and see him, and when I do, I get a jolt of excitement. I feel like I’m seeing a friend. Someone who will be happy to see me. And I’m so happy to see him.
Sometimes he wears a Patriots hat with his neon yellow crossing guard vest. As a huge Patriots fan myself, I feel like this gives us something in common. It has made it feel more like I truly know this crossing guard and like we’d really be friends if we had a chance to talk.
He has been gone lately. He was there at the beginning of the school year, but the past ten days or so, he hasn’t been there in the mornings. Another crossing guard took his place, and he’s not nearly the presence of “my” guy.
I started to worry about what might have happened. My favorite crossing guard is an older gentleman, and I worried something might have happened to him. I led my kids in a quick prayer for his well being, and then surprised them (and myself) by starting to cry. The thought that there might be something wrong with him, and I had no way to find him, was really worrying me.
So, after I dropped my kids off, I drove to the school where the crossing guard works, parked my car, and loitered around until I could get the attention of the new crossing guard.
“Excuse me. Do you know what happened to the man who used to be here in the mornings?,” I asked, my hands jammed into my pockets, feeling nervous about what he might say.
“Please let him be okay,” I said over and over in my head.
The new crossing guard laughed. “He’s on vacation in Italy!,” he said, clearly tickled that I was worried about him.
I walked away with a huge feeling of relief and excitement at the fact that “my” crossing guard should be back soon. I can’t wait for him to get back from Italy. I’m going to make sure I get out of my car and meet him. Because he has made a real difference to me. Just by being kind in the smallest of ways.
Every one of our actions makes a difference. Even the small ones. Even waving at a car you recognize each morning, as you’re doing your job helping kids cross the street to school.
What could you do today to bring a small kindness into someone’s day? Even someone you don’t know at all?