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A Little Kindness Goes A Long Way

Pet owners know the unique pain of losing their furry family member. This weekend, my wife and I experienced that pain with our 13 ½ year old Beagle – Willy. A trip to the emergency room in the early morning hours of Thursday led to a follow up visit on Saturday to check bloodwork and hopefully show signs of improvement.

While waiting for Saturday’s test results, we went to a local convenience store that had a grassy picnic area, set out our blanket and laid down with Willy. Within a few minutes, a worker at the store noticed us sitting there and asked if everything was okay. We shared the story and our anxiety over pending test results. Within minutes, the manager of the store came out and asked if we needed anything. Food for ourselves, something to drink, treats for Willy – anything, “on us, because we are all dog lovers and know the pain you’re dealing with.”

Willy’s test results were actually worse on Saturday than they were on Thursday, making the outcome was clear. It was time to say goodbye and spare him the pain and additional suffering.

On Sunday, my wife and I couldn’t take the deafening silence of a house without our “crazy dog,” so we decided to drive around. We stopped at a landscape center, to find some things that might help us memorialize Willy. We found two decorations that perfectly represented his joy for life and craziness.

While checking out, the owner of the store said, “I’m sensing a dog theme.” There were instant tears as we shared the news of Willy. The store owner offered his condolences and then said, “just a minute.” He disappeared and came back moments later holding something tight to his chest. “I get samples from time to time, and this one really impacted me, so I’ve ordered more, but I would like you to have this as my gift.” It was a perfect little grave marker with a spot for Willy’s name.

We are all going through difficulty. Exacerbated at times by the pandemic, our restrictions on travel or even the political climate. Despite all of that, two random managers who simply showed that they cared and made all the difference in the world for us. Even though it wasn’t their intention, they have earned our business for life.

A kind word, a kind gesture or even just a smile can go a long way to making someone’s pain more bearable. We’ve shared before about the importance of listening, and this is a great example of not just listening to the words, but intentionally listening to words and seeing the visual cues. These two store managers – strangers really – listened to their customers, heard the pain and responded with kindness.

Think of the difference you can make today by showing kindness to your clients, prospects or even a random stranger. You’ll feel better doing it, and the world will be a better place because of your kindness.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB