Let me tell you about a brief interaction that just happened in a park in Santa Clara.
A man was sitting on a park bench when a mother appeared in the distance, pushing a stroller in which sat a small girl crying her eyes out.
Her mom, well at least I assume it was her mom, looked tired and exasperated.
Her daughter seemed unable or unwilling to stop screaming, no matter what mom said or did.
But then as they pulled level with the man, something interesting happened.
Instead of ignoring them or acting all grouchy at the noisy intrusion into his moment of peace, he smiled and waved at the little girl, and said “Hello”.
Instantly, instantly, her crying stopped, her eyes riveted to the man who’d spoken to her.
Mom chuckled appreciatively.
Peace returned – well, for another 50 yards or so at least – as the two continued down the pathway.
But the effect of this really quite small act by the man was indisputable.
Simply connecting with the tiny tot was enough to distract her, or comfort her, or surprise her (who knows what?) from her determined efforts to sob for her country.
I wonder if you recognise, as I did at that moment, that there are probably dozens of times a day when we have a choice about how we’ll react to the things that happen around us?
If someone pushes in front of you, it’s easy to get exasperated and huffy, but possible (although less easy) to just let it go, or even smile good-naturedly.
Small acts of kindness make the world a tiny bit better, and are generally good for the kind person too.
Perhaps I should have asked the man in the park how he felt when the small girl’s tears dried up, but I really didn’t need to.
It was me.