PAM PARDY | Kindness Starts With ‘J’

While being kind should be a given all year long, there’s really no better time to be reminded of that fact than now. Bullying has been an issue for much too long in our schools and while it seems most parents, teachers and kids are all trying their best to rid the world of meanness and hate, there’s still those few who make life difficult for far too many in classrooms and beyond.

Demonstrations of kindness can come in many forms. From holding a door open for a stranger to letting someone with only a handful of items ahead of you in a grocery store lineup – there’s many ways to spread a smile.

I had one interesting encounter the other day that deserves mention. I was having a difficult few days. Life was not being as kind as it usually is for a variety of reasons – from daily difficulties to individuals who were being less than pleasant. For whatever combination of reasons, it had been a tough few days.  I reached out to a friend, Grace Shears, a woman who knows how to share her light and love with others. My partner also joined us, determined to be part of the solution when it came to turning my dark sky to sunshine once again. 

What started out as a coffee in Pop’s Diner turned into a full blown meal, and we lingered longer than we had planned. While the service was incredible, there was one staff member there, ‘J,’ who had served us in the past and all three of us gathered together on this day knew him a little in passing. 

While we were not sitting at one of his tables, ‘J’ popped by a few times to smile and share a few words in greeting, but there was no indication in the least that he knew why we were gathered or what we were talking about. When it was time to part ways, my partner and Grace argued over the bill. My partner won, and as he went up to the cash to pay, he paused bewildered. When he opened up the check, there were the words … ‘Love you! Meals on me! J.’ 

We tried to find ‘J’ to thank him, but he had gone home for the day. There would be no basking in glory. No hug and no words of appreciation. ‘J’ just paid our bill and went home, looking for nothing in return. While the  talking and the sharing at that table with a friend and a loved one had done some good when it came to lifting my blue mood, ‘J’ had accomplished so much more through this kind and unexpected gesture. It was like a miracle has taken place and we were all left a tad shocked, quite amazed, and a  whole lot uplifted. 

I’ll try to think of ‘J’ as I go about my day more often. While I usually try and work kindness in as much as I can, I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to slipping sometimes. As we prepare to send the kiddies back to school, now is as good a time as any for an uplifting story, one that sets the bar when it comes to demonstrating kindness to others.

As we send our kiddies out to learn their A,B,Cs this Sept., let’s add a little ‘J’ in there for good measure.

Pam Pardy, The Herald’s Managing Editor, can be reached by emailing [email protected]