Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Cup of Kindness (Emmylou Harris)

Yesterday afternoon, when I came out of work, I noticed that two of my tires seemed less full than usual, and my car had been feeling shaky the last few days - I decided to stop at the gas station on the way home to add air. I put air into the back one (not too much, I still believe) and moved to the front to do the same - about that time, the first one blew (bam - d*mmit!).

I sighed... rather loudly, and proceeded to call AAA, of which (because my husband has traveled most of our marriage) I've been a member forever - they told me someone would be out in 30 minutes so, fortunately, since I was at the shoppette/gas station, I went inside to buy a Diet Dr. Pepper (surely a guilty pleasure, although I avoided the Sun Chips that normally go so well with it... :-)

Not 10 minutes later, I received a call from Jim, who identified himself as the tow truck driver, and asked how soon I'd like him there - I unfazedly replied, "well, as soon as possible would be nice, because it's really hot, but get here when you can". He laughed and said he was actually at the light a block away - I laughed back and told him I hadn't expected a trick question!

As soon as I hung up, Katie with AAA dispatch called to tell me someone was on the way - I laughed again and said, "I'm impressed - your driver is 30 seconds away"... :-)

Jim arrived and made fast work of the repair, taking off the old tire and putting on the temporary "donut" - all the while, we yakked, pleasantly, about the Comedy Channel and unexpected expenses and having a good attitude. What could have been a nightmare, with me waiting outside in the 5:30 p.m. sun for an hour evolved into a delightful exchange of human contact, each of us calling the other by first name, each respectful, each connected/connecting - I only had $7 in my wallet, but gave it to him appreciatively, as he was to receive (even though tips are not required).

I still have to get my car into Tire Kingdom to buy, and install, another tire... which, given my busy schedule, may take me another few days - however, yesterday's good experience will stay with me a very long time. Kindness matters - in fact, I'd venture to say, given the ripple effect, it's the most important attribute a human being can possess...

SONG: Cup of Kindness by Emmylou Harris

BOOK: Random Acts of Kindness by Daphne Rose Kingma (Foreword), Dawna Markova (Introduction)

POEM: Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

QUOTE: "Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love." ~ Lao-Tzu


  1. Act of Kindness come in so many ways....Here is one I found Yesterday....

    On the Road
    Best Choices to Be Stranded: Syracuse, Albany, Pepperoni

    Published: August 28, 2007

    IT’S been an awful year for air travel, with delays and cancellations at record levels, with passengers stuck for hours on packed planes waiting to take off.
    Skip to next paragraph
    Chris Gash

    Against this backdrop, sending out for pizza is an act of customer service genius.

    But that happened three times recently that I am aware of. Passengers on three flights on Aug. 17 were astonished to see that someone had thought enough to have pizza and sodas sent their way.

    One of those passengers was Robynne Reiber, a frequent business traveler who lives in New York and said that every flier she knows has been complaining about “the hassles of air travel and the lack of respect given passengers by airlines.”

    That’s why the pizza at the airport in Syracuse was such a shock. “I was astounded,” she told me.

    “I couldn’t believe how well I was being treated,” she said.

    She was on Delta Flight 424 from Phoenix to Kennedy International Airport. About 90 minutes after takeoff, the pilot made one of those dreaded announcements that typically begin with the words, “Well, folks, ...”

    It was a Friday afternoon, and half the flights over the continent seemed to be heading for the East Coast, where thunderstorms were turning most of them away. The Delta flight had been instructed to circle over Colorado.

    With Kennedy closed, the flight was ultimately diverted to Syracuse.

    There, according to Ms. Reiber, the pilot said: “I’m not going to keep you on the plane. I’m going to pull up to a gate where you can get off, as long as you wait there in case we have to leave. I know you’ve only had cheese and crackers. So I called the Sbarro in the terminal and asked them to keep sending pizzas out until the whole plane gets fed.”

    At the gate, tables were set up. “The pilot said it might take a while to get everybody fed because this is probably more pizzas than they’re used to turning out at a time, so please be patient,” Ms. Reiber said.

    Flight attendants helped serve while the pilot made regular announcements from the departure desk about the prospects for getting en route again.

    “Finally, he said, ‘All right, everybody back on the plane, we have a slot,’ ” Ms. Reiber said.

    “On the plane, the flight attendants kept saying, ‘If anybody needs anything, just ask and we’ll do the best we can. We’re all in this together.’ ”

    The two pilots on Flight 424 were Gary Hale and Ty Rhame. The flight attendants were David Evans, Nancy Grimshaw and Melisa Walker.

    Lynn Casey, a Delta customer service agent, paid for the pizza at the Syracuse airport — and did the same thing for another flight from the West Coast that had been diverted there the same afternoon, a Delta spokeswoman said.

    The pizza connection appears to have been a trend on Aug. 17, at least in upstate New York. The same day, a Continental Express flight bound for Newark sat for an hour and a half at Albany International Airport waiting for the weather to break. An account of the Albany pizza delivery first appeared in The Albany Times-Union.

    Doug Myers, the airport’s public affairs director, said he was in his office half listening to radio chatter from the tower when, he said, “The Continental Express pilot came on and said, ‘I’ve been out here for 90 minutes. Anybody know if a window is going to open up?’ ”

    Mr. Myers and his boss, John O’Donnell, the airport’s chief executive, already had a plan in place after being stranded on a parked plane for five hours not long ago in Philadelphia.

    The plan was to send out food for long-delayed flights and to keep airport food vendors open late if it looked as if delays were building in the region. The pizzas were on their way to the plane when the pilot had to return to the gate for refueling.

    “We’d already heard all the talk” about stranded passengers on crowded planes for 3, 6 and even 10 hours, often without food or water, Mr. Myers said, adding,

    “We decided we can’t let this kind of thing happen in Albany.”

    E-mail: jsharkey@nytimes.com.
    More Articles in Business »

  2. Hey, sharon -

    I love that - it actually brought tears to my eyes (thanks for sending... :-)

    I value kindness above all else - I've seen the results...