I don’t know about you, but I have been blown away by the many acts of kindness out there in the world right now. From Spain, where they are applauding the medical workers on the frontlines by cheering and banging pots and pans at 8 pm every night to Italy, where those in isolation sing from their balconies. I’ve loved watching John Legend, Neil Diamond and Chris Martin play free concerts for all of us to enjoy. A couple of weeks ago, I stopped in to my local 7-Eleven to use the ATM machine. I was lucky to walk in just as they received a new shipment of sanitizing wipes. The clerk pointed me in the right direction and said, “there’s a two container limit.” But then, he said, almost in a whisper, “go ahead and take three if you’d like.” He smiled, knowing this was a small albeit kind gesture. Before I knew it, he had gone to the back to get a box for me to put my few items in. I was stunned by the level of service he was providing. When I paid, he insisted on taking the box to my car for me. “Really? That is so nice of you!” I said with deep gratitude. When I offered a small tip as a gesture of thanks, he put his hand up and said, “No thank you. We are all in this together.”
I sat in my car for a moment and began thinking about what he had done. It was a small yet meaningful act of kindness. And that’s when I realized, in every storm, there is always a silver lining. Perhaps one will be more compassion and empathy for others.
I remember after 9/11, there was a palpable change in the way New Yorkers interacted. Merely asking, “How are you?” took on a whole new and deeper meaning. There wasn’t a single New Yorker who wasn’t personally impacted by the attacks on that fateful day. And if you didn’t know someone who lost their life in the towers, you certainly knew someone who did. For all of the horrific fallout from 9/11, there was also a seismic shift in how we treated one another. We were kinder, gentler and more intentional in our daily lives.
And so, when I think about what we are all going through now, I can’t help but wonder if that won’t be the silver lining here. We are no longer a divided country, Democrats or Republicans—we are all Americans, and yes, just as the clerk at 7-Eleven pointed out, we are all in this together.
Be kind, stay strong and be in good health.