As soon as I walked through the door to the eye doctor’s office a few minutes ago, I could tell everybody was stressed. There were two women at the front counter working frantically. After a moment, one of them tried to greet me, but she stumbled around before apologizing that they were having a crisis. She tried to deal with me as she handled another patient and listened to another call on hold, but she seemed overwhelmed. “It’s OK,” I said. “Let me wait until you’re finished with this. I don’t mind.” She thanked me and looked relieved. After a couple of minutes, she got off the phone and directed me to where I needed to be and I talked with her briefly about her crisis, just enough to express some empathy. Someone else helped me with what I’d come for and I left the office 10 minutes later. On the way out the door, I asked the woman up front if everything was OK now. She smiled and said it was a little better. I walked out the door, but before I got to my car, I realized she had followed me and said, “Excuse me. I was really upset when you came in, but the way you treated me changed how I felt. Thank you so much for your kindness.” In a small way, I helped this woman in a crisis. It didn’t cost me anything, either. Remember that you can ruin people’s days or make them better. Be someone who people are glad to see. It makes you a better person.
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