Add Value

Itís just a thought. But give me a moment and see if it works for you.

If someone does a good thing Ö well Ö itís down to them Ö itís their story. The credit, the kudos, whatever, are all theirs, right? Well, yes Ö and no.

Jackie was at work in the hairdressing salon. Her baby-bump was plainly visible, but she was learning to work around it. And, to be honest, she was quite enjoying the attention it generated in a working environment that was almost exclusively female.

She was cutting the hair of a woman who had never been to the salon before and they were chatting happily about life, pregnancy, everything. Then the woman asked if Jackieís mom was a knitter. If she was, the woman was sure she would be busy knitting a bundle of clothes for her new granddaughter of grandson.

Jackie, didnít miss a snip. Sheís a professional. She said she loved hand-knitted stuff and that would be really nice Ė but her mom had died when Jackie was a little girl. Jackie had never learned to knit. So, it would probably be shop-bought clothes.

A few weeks later Jackie turned up for work and her supervisor handed her a parcel. The day before, Jackieís day off, a woman had come in and left this for her. Inside was a bundle of truly beautiful, hand-knitted baby clothes.

Jackieís mom hadnít been able to knit for her grandchild, so a stranger, with the heart of an angel, had stepped in and did it for her.

Now thatís a beautiful story. And all credit would go to that woman for her kindness.

Except that it happened almost twenty years ago. That baby bump is now a handsome, athletic young man.

But Jackie kept one of those knitted tops in a memories box and every once in a while when things get tough it reminds her that there is still plenty of kindness out there. Telling me the story she will happily share with anyone given a chance, she could still feel the tears of appreciation gathering.

The woman never came back to the salon as far as Jackie knows, but two decades later Jackie still looks out for her, and there are very few things she wants as much as the opportunity to tell that woman, Thank You.

The gift was a kind one, very kind, but the memory it could have been left behind as her son outgrew those clothes. Life goes on, after all.

Jackie didnít allow that to happen. As far as she is concerned the story is all about that stranger in the salon, but by keeping the memory close to her heart and by her hope of one day being allowed to show her appreciation, I think Jackie has added to the gift.

She has taken something special and polished it, preserved it and passed it on to others.

The giver deserves credit for the gift, but the receiver has his or her part to play as well. We can be passive recipients, or we can be people who add value.

So, here we are with the gift of another day. You might have the gift of friends, you might have the gift of your health. You choose the gift.

Then tell me Ė whatcha gonna do with it?

David McLaughlan copyright 2009

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