Occasionally, on Facebook, someone will post something on how we should be grateful or thank people in certain occupations or groups. I have nothing against such posts, but my own feelings of gratitude usually come from individuals, not from whole occupations. Here, in no certain order, are five moments of gratitude that spring to mind today:
- Once after a medical test, when the unhappy result meant another test, the radiologist was about to make another appointment for me. She looked at my scared face and then said, “Look, if you don’t mind skipping lunch, I don’t. What you say we get this out of the way today?”
- When my freshman roommate took the alarm clock home with her, I overslept, arriving late to my algebra final. The instructor walked up to me as I sat at my desk and whispered, “Do not worry. I will stay until you finish.”
- Last year, when I came down with a stomach virus, a colleague, unasked, brought a get-well kit by my house. She also included some ice cream for when I felt better but not well enough to go to the grocery store.
- When I had a source wrong from a book I borrowed through interlibrary loan, a librarian at that library looked it up for me and provided the correct wording by email.
- After a root canal, I still had pain, but in my usual procrastinating state of denial, I didn’t tell my dentist about it for another year. They did a second root canal and refused to charge me. “We work on it until we get it right,” they said.
In each of those cases, no one would have been wrong by not helping me. Radiologists deserve to have lunch. I was late for my final exam. Colleagues are under no obligation to make house calls. ILL librarians do not have to look up sources for clients. And no one would blame a business for considering a procedure a year after the old one a billable item.
But these particular folks decided to step outside the idea of “what I shouldn’t have to do on the job.” I am eternally grateful for those and the hundreds of small favors that people do for me on any given day. And it makes me want to be better in how I treat others.
Emerson once wrote, “. . . To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” And those five people, and millions like them, are definitely successful.