You’re one of those people that have no idea what you’re doing. And I mean that in a good way. With one little almost effortless spontaneous gesture, you wound up inspiring and teaching more people than you could have imagined in your wildest dreams. Last time I checked…almost a half a million people. I intend to make it more.
For those who don’t know, here’s what you did. You were with your family having breakfast at Cracker Barrel, I assume somewhere near Knoxville, TN, when you saw an older woman eating alone. You said you felt sorry for her, and your family told you to go say hello. I don’t know if they were kidding or they knew you’d do exactly that.
You not only said hello, but sat down and wound up having breakfast with her. You found out her name was Anita, that her husband died of dementia in August after 58 years of marriage, that her church friends are her only “family,” and that she likes Cracker Barrel because it’s easier than a lot of places to eat alone. When the meal was over, you exchanged phone numbers.
I wish I could tell you that someone being that loving, empathetic toward a total stranger, and taking the initiative to do something about it isn’t “news,” or isn’t a story worthy of going viral. But sadly, it is. And considering your young age, and that the person you reached out to was a senior…well that makes it all the more newsworthy given how our culture erases the elderly.
Hopefully you’ve heard of the Beatles. Well they have a song called Eleanor Rigby that asks, “all the lonely people, where do they all come from?” I’ll tell you where they come from. They come from haven fallen through the cracks in a hard world filled with hard people. If they’re noticed at all, they’re regarded “somebody else’s problem.” But mostly, they’re lonely because they’ve been made invisible. But you, you have eyes that truly see, and that makes you a real gem.
We’re bombarded daily with stories of human atrocity that come from dark hearts. I suppose most people find those more interesting than inspiring stories, so that’s why we’re fed a steady diet of it. Cumulatively, all of these dark heart success stories can make a society downright despondent. Our definition of “normal” shifts and is compromised. So much so that what you did becomes “abnormal.”
You Erika are a heart of light. Thank God you’re here to combat what the dark hearts bring. You made an old lady’s day. The waitress said you made the staff’s day. Your basic kindness has spread, inspired, and given hope, because basic kindness has fallen so by the wayside. I beg of you never to “mature” out of your current approach to life and people. We need you around to teach us.