Ever since I read this quote for the first time many years ago, it stuck with me. When I'm feeling weighed down by madness, unexpected change, negativity - this quote never fails to pop into my head, reminding me to look for the good around me.
I want to share an experience and a thought I encountered this week. One is about meeting a helper. One is about being a helper.
First, my experience meeting a helper in the most unexpected of places: Village Inn. Joel and I were both looking to do something to lift our spirits after a week of being bombarded with negative and unsettling change in both our personal and professional lives. We decided to visit Festival of Trees at Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center. We go every year and it always puts us in a warm and giving mood. As usual, we had a great time taking in the Christmas trees, music, and spirit.
We wanted to top off the night by eating at one of our favorite restaurants, Village Inn. Ironically, they gave us a $5 off coupon to Village Inn at Festival of Trees - so going there was written in the stars. And I'm so glad for that. When we arrived at the restaurant they were bursting at the seams. So crowded, a bustle of activity. We were seated and greeted by the person I'll start to gush about: Charlie. Charlie became the helper in our story, and someone we'll remember for a long time.
In looking at Mr. Rogers' face and remembering Charlie's, they had a lot in common. The main features being eyes and a smile that beam with genuine kindness. His service was lovely, but the way he delivered the words he spoke to us and those around us was truly one-of-a-kind. There was no falsity about him. He sincerely liked what he was doing and interacting with his customers. What brought us the greatest joy was watching him with the children that were on either side of our booth. I wish I could have taken a photo if it wouldn't have been completely creepy. Imagine a grandparent seeing their grandchild. That's what it was like. And he was greeting complete strangers.
At the end of our (wonderful) experience we decided that we wanted to let Charlie know how much his kindness was appreciated. We spoke with his manager and left him a very generous tip. The thing about helpers is that they are often overlooked. We wanted Charlie to know that we saw him. That his positivity and genuine goodness restored some of the feelings of hope we'd lost. Thank the good Lord for helpers like Charlie.
Now on to my second topic, a thought about being a helper. We've all seen in the news that there has been an increasing number of harassment claims from a wide range of people throughout the country. People are receiving rude notes, yells from the street, online comments, you name it. People are making other people feel like they don't matter. Like they're not worthy to be themselves and/or live in this country. When the fact is, we're all so much more alike than we are different.
I plan to be a helper by reaching out to the people I see in the news or online that are receiving negative or threatening messages. And I hope you'll join me in this. The internet gives us access to more personal information than I'm comfortable with, but in times like this, I hope it comes in handy. I've already looked up the names and addresses of a couple of different people who were recently harassed and plan to send them a note of support. And if I see something online, I'm going to post my support over and over again. Let's show that the support for the people being attacked is greater than the perceived hate towards them.
Let's vow to recognize the helpers we encounter. And at the same time, let's be helpers ourselves in any way, shape, or form we can be, at this time, and always.