Random Acts of Kindness

English: A plain glazed donut. This was bought...

English: A plain glazed donut. This was bought at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Brooklyn. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tuesday morning I awoke to cold rain pelting my window panes. The alarm clock screamed “beep, beep, beep!” while every bone in my body fought to stay under the covers. Given I needed an income, the alarm clock won. I shuffled out of bed and threw on my hooded sweat shirt, pants, and slippers. My dog and I bravely stepped into the rain. Fortunately, he took “go potty” seriously and then we ran for cover.

I executed my morning routine. I tamed my humidity ravaged hair into a cute beachy look and stepped out the door. . . only to realize my car and house keys were sitting in my coat pocket. I was not wearing this coat. )= Fortunately, my landlord placed a key lock box outside my apartment. I quickly manipulated the combination while the rain turned my beachy coiffure into that of Albert Einstein’s.

I hopped into my car only five minutes behind schedule. Woohoo! I hit a traffic jam five minutes into my commute. I called my scheduler and explained my dilemma. I also inquired if I was scheduled back-to-back. She hesitated, “yes, but I am sure it will all work out.” I pulled up to the clinic at 7:58 am only to discover there was no available parking in the provider lot. Fortunately, there was plenty of street parking. I pulled along the curb and saw the NO PARKING on 2nd and 4th Tuesdays for street sweeping. I checked my calendar. Damn, it was a fourth Tuesday. I circled the block several times with no luck. I called my scheduler and explained my dilemma. She recommended I pull into our lot and just block someone until lunch time. She also volunteered to stand outside (in the rain no less) to direct me into the lot. I pulled up to the lot to find her and two medical assistants ushering me in and holding the door open as I ran to my office.

I encountered my patient in the lobby. I apologized profusely for being late. I set all my bags down as I quickly unlocked my door and flipped on my lights and computer. My patient kindly carried in my bags. All was well. My second patient did not show, so I had several minutes before my next patient. I walked out and my colleague offered to pick up my new patient if I got backed up. She also told me she brought in donuts. I exhaled, hugged her, and picked up a donut. All was well.

What random act of kindness can you offer during this season of giving? Sometimes a parking space or a donut can make all the difference.

Imperfectly,

Amelia

 

 

Be Here

A few days ago I visited the farmer’s market near my office.  The market lies in the heart of a working class Asian and Latino neighborhood. I enjoy strolling through the market while hearing the tonal languages of Vietnamese and Lao punctuate the air as the romance language of Spanish dances in between. I’m a bit of an oddity given I’m a fair-skinned red head in business casual attire. After filling my bags with figs, nectarines, and squash, I head straight to the pupusa stand. If you’ve never had this Salvadorian fare, it’s like heaven in a homemade, corn fried tortilla severed with a side of cabbage salad. I love mine stuffed with cheese and spinach. The stand owner enthusiastically greets me, “¡Buenas dias!  . . . ¿Espinachas y queso?” I reply with an enthusiastic, “¡Si!” (You correctly surmised I visit this stand regularly.)

After receiving my piping hot pupusa, I settle in at one of the three rickety card tables which constitute the dining area. It’s a perfect people-watching point. My eyes meet a diminutive, elderly, Asian man who stands about 5 feet tall. His face resembles weathered leather and his eyes twinkle. I smile. He approaches me and hands me a rubber ball with a globe printed on it. It fits in the palm of my hand. Between the mixture of English and Khmer and his missing teeth, I decipher, “For you!” I thank him, and ask if he would like some money. He places his hand on my shoulder, proceeds in Khmer and ends with “gift.” I grin and thank him. He explains I can use the ball to indicate to others where I come from. Then, he shows me his migration from Cambodia to the eastern United States. Through wild hand gestures and rapid changes in intonation, I learn that his boat sank on the voyage, and his wife died.  I say, “You had an incredibly painful and difficult journey.” He nods and averts my gaze. However, he quickly grins and continues speaking. He points to California and says, “You here, and I’m here.” I beam and reply, “Yes, we are!” Then, I proceed to show him Hawaii and explain I was born there. I illustrate my journey from Hawaii to Georgia to Texas to California. He laughs and smiles, “now, you here!” I joyfully agree, “Yes, I’m here!”

Often times, our minds resemble energetic puppies who want to be anywhere but Here.  The ball reminds me that Here is where the magic happens. Here is where we can have glorious, even if only brief, moments when we feel completely seen and in connection with another person. Where are you right now? Be Here.

Imperfectly,

Amelia