My friend, Heidi Stokes, told me a wonderful, life-changing story that is as simple as it is powerful. I wanted to share it because it’s an excellent reminder of the effect we have on everyone we come into contact with. Here is Heidi’s story.
My first job in high school was waitressing. I wanted to do everything perfectly but I kept messing up. For some reason I had a mental block when people asked me to bring their drinks to them with their meal instead of right after they ordered. Over and over again, I’d bring people their food and forget their drinks. So many people got so upset with me. I understood why they were angry—they couldn’t eat their meal without their drink. I felt ashamed of myself, like I was the biggest idiot in the world.
The worst moment came when I screwed up one man’s order three different ways. He was in a wheelchair so I felt especially terrible. I was really rattled and felt like it was the end of the world. As I apologized for the third or fourth time, he reached out, touched my arm, looked me in the eye and said, “It’s okay. It’s one meal out of a lifetime of meals. I can wait.” NO one had EVER acted like that before. I wanted to kiss his feet.
It was a watershed moment. With just a few kind words, he put everything in perspective. I was making honest mistakes and doing the best I could at the time. I stopped beating myself up when other customers would make mean-spirited comments. Because he was kind to me, I learned to be kinder to myself. And ever since then, I began looking for opportunities to say a kind word to others who were having a bad day.
I later found out that this man had a degenerative muscle disease and only had a year or so to live. I think of him every time I reach out to someone in distress. And I am honored that in this way, his legacy of kindness lives on.
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ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA
Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?
Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier
Here is a two-minute video introduction to Through God’s Eyes.
Phil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.
Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.
Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.