Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What If...we said one right thing


Last Saturday I finally met Bob Smith at the car repair shop where he works as service manager. His parents were related through marriage to my stepdad, and I'd met his folks, had a couple of delightful conversations with his mother Libby when she was still alive, but I'd never met any of their three kids.

As a surprise gift my dad decided to see if it was worth fixing my son's old car. It has almost 230,000 miles on it, so we certainly weren't sure about that! But he decided to invest the five hundred dollars and see if we could keep my son's wheels on the road a little longer. So he called Bob.

So I stood there at the service counter with my son while Bob, a man close to my age in his 50s, dressed in dark blue overalls, busied himself with our paper work. I waited while he looked over the invoice and explained everything that had been fixed on the '95 Dodge Neon. There was a slight pause before he started to ring up the total, and I decided to use that pause.

"I just want you to know," I said, "that I really liked your mother so much." Bob's business countenance changed. In a split second his face transformed into one of delight, and registered pure joy. "She was so wonderful," he said. "As time goes on there aren't that many people who remember my mother, and it's so nice to hear someone say something about her."

My father died when I was 17-years-old and occasionally through the years I've had people stop and tell me a story about him. The last time was several years ago, and it was a remarkable story of my dad standing up for two young teenagers. I know from my own experience what a gift it can be to hear about a loved one, especially when they've been gone a long time, and you don't have that many friends who knew them. I knew before I went to get my son's car that day that I would mention this great lady to her son if the opportunity presented itself. I'm so glad it did. I know my words to him were a gift, and the gift to me was seeing the love that flooded this man's face as soon as I spoke of his beloved mother.


Randee said...

Praise God, Anne. I'm touched by your forethought. Spontaneous kindness is wonderful but to be intentional, to plan your course to kindness is another matter all together. There is a place for both but I, for one, am so blessed by your "intention".

Quite beautiful.

Kimberly said...

I am in awe of that story Anne. That was splendid. I'm sure Bob could've used that encouragement that day. God's timing is so wonderful. Thank you! Kimberly

Lori Arriaga said...

What a beautiful story to share with us Anne. You inspire me with your acts of kindness.!

Randee said...

Beautiful, lovely, and kind Anne. How we cherish you!

Jana B said...

Awwww... i know when my dad passed away in Feb, one of his friends knew JUST what to say... that meant SO much to me, and still does today.

God, give me those kinds of words to speak.