“Kindness gives birth to kindness.”
Sophocles (447 BC)
kindness inspires kindness by Mort Laitner
On a cold February winter day in our nation’s Capitol, I was attending the public health preparedness summit. I was fortunate to attend a story telling seminar. The teacher offered students an opportunity to tell their story and be critiqued by the class.
The third student to speak was a graying old timer nick-named, Tag. He had spent a year of his life helping Katrina survivors in New Orleans. He spoke about giving a motivational speech to tired and totally drained social workers in the Big Easy.
The speech went something like this: Tag was on a precipice, a hanging cliff between two mountains. Tag was so tired. He was ready to give up his journey, when he noticed a wire extending between the mountains. Tag was too frightened to walk across the thin wire on this windy day. Then a man pushing a wheel barrow appeared and asked, “Tag, what is your problem?” Tag explained his predicament. The man said, “do not worry I will take you across.”
At this point Tag raised his voice, who do you think you are?
The man quietly responded, “God. Get in the wheel barrow and let’s go.”
The crowd in the room responded with a warm amount of applause. Then the student critics rapidly fired off five negative comments about Tag’s story. He looked crest fallen. Feeling that a positive comment was called for I raised my hand but the lecturer moved on to the next story.
After lunch I thought I would never get to say my kind words to Tag. Walking out of the auditorium there he was. Extending my hand in greeting, I said, “Tag I really enjoyed your story, you said it with such feeling and emotion.” Tag’s face lit up like a light bulb.
In a matter of a New York minute, he gushed out a deeply felt thank you. He explained that he was a part time minister and an emergency preparedness planner, as well as an alcoholic in recovery. We exchanged business cards and said that if we were in each others cities we would look each other up.
At this point I put my hand in my pocket and realized that I had lost my cellular phone. I apologized to Tag for having to leave so abruptly but the phone that I had borrowed from my wife was lost.
I rushed back to the auditorium where I had eaten lunch, and discovered one of my lunch mates waving the phone at me. I laughed with the relief of one less headache in my life.
On Monday morning I was back at my desk when the phone rang. Lo and behold, it was Tag. He inquired if I had found my phone. I told him I had and he said, “I am glad because I prayed that you would.” I thanked him for his act of kindness.
Sophocles was right. Kindness does give birth to kindness.