We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.
-Marian Wright Edelman
I have a friend who signs every email with “Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” I’ve been reminded of these words so often over the years. Maybe it’s because as I’ve gotten older, I have seen that no one escapes struggle. Whether it is a failing relationship, a business in trouble, the declining health of a family member, a child struggling with mental health, the loss of someone . . . everyone experiences pain and hardship. It’s the world we live in. THAT is why the small things make a difference.
The summer before my freshman year of college I worked at Applebee’s. I LOVED waiting tables. In fact, I always said I might go back to it just for fun someday. One day my manager called me back to his office. I’d never been called back before and thought I might have done something wrong. He asked me what I liked about waiting tables.
I told him, “Well, people come here to have a meal. They’re looking for good food and a good experience. It’s pretty much up to me as to whether that happens. For thirty minutes to an hour, I can make their mealtime enjoyable, or I can ruin it. So, I just try to make it as good as possible.” He then showed me a note that one of my tables had handed him on their way out that simply complimented me and said I’d been one of the best servers they had ever had. They left me a good tip, but more than anything it was the recognition that what I had done had made a difference to this couple . . . and then in turn, the time they took to jot down a note on receipt made a difference to me. Thirty years later I still remember that small gesture and how it made me feel.
Small daily differences. Little things that mean so much. Make someone’s day better.
-written by Kate Hurlbut