Follow through

So many times in life, I think about giving people props. I don’t want to stop at merely telling them how they made my day easier or my life more joyful. I want to really express my gratitude in a way that is meaningful and multiplies.

We have all encountered others along the way who have gone the extra mile for us. It could be a customer service representative who rights a wrong by correcting a mistake, removing charges for the correction and sending out what you had initially hoped to receive. Or it could be the guy at your grocery store who sets aside pallets for your Pinterest-worthy pallet backyard furniture creations. These are people who have taken time out of their days to extend a kindness to someone else. They should be thanked or at the very least, made aware of how meaningful their effort was to us.

I can easily tell you the reason why I have let these acts go unthanked and it’s the most pitiful of excuses – Um, I’m sorta busy. I think about how much another person’s time has meant to me. I think about how incredible it is for me as a person when I am met, exactly as I am, with compassion. I do a lot of thinking. Then I fall asleep. That is it. That is the best I can do? COME ON.

Who knows what it takes for each person to do something for me. Maybe it was hardly any effort. Maybe they listened closely to me as I talked about needing to buy clothespins in bulk. After hearing that, they went about their day and ran into an old friend who asked them “Hey, do you have any idea where I could donate all these clothespins I have that I am not using?” as they gestured to a large garbage bag filled with said clothespins. (Note, this has never happened before but that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t. Also, sweet universe, I am good on clothespins but if they find their way to me I will figure something out).

Maybe it is way harder for them. Maybe an encounter with one of us inspired them to take on a massive project which required cooperation from others, considerable time and effort. Such as when a group of locals took notice of a man walking to work, miles from home, for months. The months turned to a year which turned into a decade. In the dawn and in the dark, rain, wind, snow or the combination they saw him. Every day, from Monday to Friday, from kitchen windows and car windshields, they watched the man walking. Until someone wrote about it and someone else read about and people started talking. One person shared the tale with another who they found out had also seen the same man. It struck a chord with another young man who figured he could raise money if people decided to pool their resources and crowd-fund so that the walking man could have a car. (This is actually a true story and when I read it I burst into tears of pride for being a part of the human race). You can read about it here Detroit man walks 21 mi if your faith in humanity is wavering.

I got into my old familiar routine this week, thinking and all… I thought about how the school resource officer, a Sherriff’s deputy, has had such a positive impact on the students that my kids attend school alongside. I thought about how Little Sister warmed up to this person, who was always around and could be counted on to crack a joke, or share a smile with anyone he crossed paths with. I thought and I thought and then, guys, I kid you not, I DID SOMETHING. (I wish I could say that I bought him a new car, but I’m not there yet…maybe after the lottery drawing tonight).

I walked up to this person and told him I thought he was doing a great job. I shared with him observations from a kindergartener who referred to him as Officer Awesome. I thanked him for coming to work. Then I asked for his supervisor’s contact. And I sent an email. Not just mentally.

That email was received (gratefully) and was then forwarded up the chain of the command three ranks up to include the County Sherriff. I didn’t move mountains but I moved something. I took the thought of thanking him and taking a moment to appreciate his effort and I built upon that with a sincere acknowledgment to his captain for retaining and supporting this person. Because I want to do more than think about giving people props, I want to actually do it.


2 thoughts on “Follow through

  1. This is such an incredible post. I believe, whole-heartedly, that it can really boost someone’s morale by just saying “thank you for what you’ve done”. I know that I feel like I’m walking on air when someone thanks me like that. It doesn’t have to be something big, like your example of buying someone a car. But it really makes a difference in a life by just that little thing like ‘thank-you’… 🙂


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