Sometimes you just meet the right people at the right time. Life has a way of sending us the people we need just when we need them. We don’t often know it until they’ve come and gone from our lives, but the lessons we learn from these individuals stay in our hearts and leave a mark on our souls.
Winter 2007. I’m out shoveling snow on a miserably cold and windy Toronto day. As I shoveled I was muttering under my breath about how I need to get the #!$#&* out of this city ASAP and move somewhere where it doesn’t snow, blah blah blah. Mid-mutter, a girl about my age walked past smiling and laughed a little. I was feeling pretty feisty that day what with all of the shoveling I had to do, so I said, “What are you smiling at?!” to which she responded, “Just you.” We had a long conversation that day. Well, as long as standing outside in the blistering cold will allow. We exchanged names and birthdays and even shared part of our life stories with one another. She walked by with a smile on her face and left one on mine, too. A remarkable feat after the mood I was in prior to that interaction.
July 2008. My birthday. I came home after a day of festivities to find a hand-made birthday card left for me in the entry-way to my home. It was signed by the girl who had made me smile on that cold winter day many months before. She not only remembered my birthday, but she took the time to make me a handmade birthday card with a lovely message on the inside. She signed her name but didn’t leave any way for me to get in touch with her. This was truly just a random act of kindness on her part.
Still July 2008: I knew I had to find a way to thank this girl. Given the modern age we live in, I posted a missed connection for her on Craigslist. Creepy, perhaps, but I knew the message would get to her if she was meant to see it. Days later, she responded and told me she had a feeling a message would be there for her from me. We didn’t try to make plans but it turns out, we didn’t need to. The Universe had other plans.
Summer, Fall, Winter 2008: Birthday-card friend came in and out of my life at random moments. Our meet-ups were largely un-planned. We would bump into each other and decide to go for a walk. Or walk past one another on the street and grab a quick meal together. Every time I was with her, she would engage in a random act of kindness to someone (or something). Every single time. She’s since moved and is spreading her light in another part of the world. But my life remains positively affected by her.
What I learned from this serendipitous friendship is that you don’t have to have money to do nice things for people. In fact, the more from the heart a gift is, the more it is appreciated. You don’t have to wait for the perfect opportunity to be kind to a stranger. Every opportunity you have to be kind to someone is the perfect time to do it. You (usually) don’t have to be afraid of people you don’t know – the world is full of good people. Be one of them.