Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way...

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Today my mom watched my three-year-old twin boys while I had a doctor's appointment. As a treat, I decided to bring her lunch from Subway--a chopped salad with chicken.

I ordered my sub, and one for the boys to share, and then I ordered my mom's salad. She usually requests that they lay down a piece of parchment paper under the chicken breast before they cut it. She's very conscious of bacteria and feels more comfortable when they don't put the chicken right on the cutting board. I expressed this request to the lady behind the counter.

And I was given one of "those" looks. She said: "The cutting board is clean."

"Yes, I know," I said kindly, "but she'd feel more comfortable if you used a piece of parchment."

She frowned at me. "I don't like cutting meat on the parchment. It rips and chunks get in the meat."

I smiled, trying to be as nice as possible. "I'd appreciate if you could try."

She picked up the chicken, plopped it down on the parchment and then literally began to SAW the chicken, tearing up the parchment on purpose! She cocked her head at me, lifted her brows and said: "See?"

At that point I was too flabbergasted to know what to do. The only thing I could think to say was: "I don't appreciate that!"

She just stared at me.

I almost had to pick my jaw off the floor. I said: "Fine, forget about the salad."

I moved down the line, totally at a loss at the woman's behavior. To see a grown woman act so childish was shocking.

There was a bit of a commotion behind the counter when a second lady came up. I didn't listen as the first lady complained...I just told the next employee down the line what I wanted on my sub.

A couple minutes later the second lady came down the line, a smooth parchment in front of her, filled with perfectly sliced chicken. She said (very kindly, I might add): "What did you want with this chicken?"

I smiled. "I wanted a chopped salad."

She closed her eyes briefly, nodded her head and communicated her apology with her eyes. She made a beautiful salad, which I was able to take to my mom.

As I drove away, contemplating why I was almost in tears, it dawned on me. My heart hurts when I see people acting so terrible. It should be our great pleasure to go out of our way to serve others. I wasn't upset because she had treated me that way, it was because there are far too many people who act this way in our world.

Kindness goes a long way, but sadly, anger and selfishness can go further. Had I not been aware of the need to forgive, I could have frowned my way through Subway, spoke rudely to the cashier, got in my car and been rude in traffic, walked into my mom's house and been in a bad mood with her (making my gift to her a waste), treated my children poorly and ultimately had a bad day...but I didn't. Because I understand that everyday we're given the choice to respond to both the good and the bad. And I chose to not let the Subway lady ruin my day--or my attitude.

If she would have done what I asked, with a smile on her face, even if it was difficult, the blessing would have followed me through the day. I've had many people do kind things for me, and I feel so good afterward. The reverse is also true. When I go out of my way for someone, whether they know it or not, it feels wonderful. Everyone benefits from kindness.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31. 

I pray my actions will propel people to peace, kindness and joy, giving God all the glory when others feel blessed. I don't want people to experience strife, anger or pain because of me. I want them to walk away from me with a smile on their face.

What about you? Don't be bashful, share a time when you've gone out of your way to help someone--doesn't it feel good?

*By the way, I love Subway--just to make that clear. :)


  1. Incredible, Gabe, but you had a wonderful response. One of the first verses I teach our children is Ephesians 4:32: "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."

  2. Beautifully written Gabe! A little bit does go a long way - so many little choices in our day impact so many others in ways we may never realize. It's time we started thinking about each one.

  3. Let's just say that when this country gal moved to NYC when I got married, I had some serious run-ins with rudeness. Sounds like your response was spot-on. I have found that if you give in and do what they want, either by retaliating violently or by skulking away, they continue. But if you stand your ground and expect more of them, often, they realize their rudeness won't fly. There are lots of prickly people out there, but many times our smile and/or reprimand might be the one thing that pulls them up short. That, and the Spirit of the Living God that's in us. And then we pray for them! Glad you got your mom's salad made right in the end!


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