My favorite part of my job at the YMCA was meeting new members and hearing their stories.
One day I signed up a new member that I will call Shelly. Shelly and I had an instant connection and she began sharing about some of her challenges, losses and joys. I, in turn, opened up my heart and shared a few things about my life. I told her that I had lost my husband by suicide, but my faith helped to keep me sane through the unimaginable grief journey.
I remembered she looked down and looked back up and softy asked, “Do you believe things are not just coincidental but a God-thing?”
I said, “Absolutely.”
Shelley said, “Then, I have a story for you…” She began to explain that she worked in a very large building complex. One day, she randomly decided to walk down a stairwell in a different side of her office building. As she was walking down the steps, she began to pass a woman she barely knew. Shelly greeted her, said her name and touched her arm. The woman looked up at her with tears in her eyes. “Out of the blue I said to her Karen… ‘Are you going to take your life tonight?’” The woman said that was the plan and that day was her last day at work.
Shelly had immediately taken her to get help. She heard that the woman wasn’t making up a story… It was true. In the woman’s apartment, she had lined up several bottles of pills next to a written suicide note. Shelly mentioned that the woman did receive care and was doing well. I never saw Shelly again, but the sweet connection and the incredible story will stay with me forever.
My lesson: Spread kindness daily..I may never know the impact.