“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted” Aesop
My wonderful father Paul said throughout his life, kindness pays, “give everyone you meet a smile and a handshake.’ I think of his words everyday and know that he is continually smiling down from heaven to me.
During this time of holiday festivities and thanking people for their help throughout the year, I thought of the story by Charles Plumb who was a U.S. Navy jet pilot during the Vietnam War. He had spent time in a prison because after 75 combat missions, his plane was hit and he was ejected and parachuted to safety-into the arms of the Viet Cong, however.
Some years after his release, he and his wife were out to dinner one night when a man approached him and said, “You’re Plumb and you flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!” Plumb looked at his in astonishment and asked how he knew.
“I packed your parachute,” the man replied. “I guess it worked!!” Plumb then gasped both in surprise and gratitude.
That night he could not sleep. He wondered what that parachute-packer had looked like in a Navy uniform. “Did I ever say ‘good morning’ to him? I just hope I didn’t ignore him because I was a fighter pilot and he was ‘just’ a sailor.” He thought about how hard this fellow and others like him had worked, making sure that the chute would open.
They had actually held the fate of a flyer they didn’t know in their hands. As a public speaker, Plumb began asking his audiences, “Who packs your parachute?”
We all have people who help up get through the day in every way and very often in small, yet major ways. Take the time to keep people in your sights, no matter how busy you are facing the challenges of life. Say hello, please and thank you, congratulate someone on something that has happened to them, give a compliment or just do something nice for no reason. Do it all the time—not just during the holiday season. Make it a consistent practice.
Think of when a match lights a candle, the match’s flame doesn’t shrink-if anything it grows. In the same way, hopefully you will be more inspired by building others up.
Take action today to make someone’s life a little better—perhaps with a kind word and a smile.
Happy and Healthy holidays and new year!