Last August, Judge Amul Thapar, currently serving on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, gave a talk in which he told a story of kindness from his own life to help make his point that "simple acts of kindness often cost us very little but go a long way." Thapar said,
"When I was a sixth grader, my parents had me switch schools. For a young child, this is a difficult thing to do. I was awkward. I wore glasses. I had a cheesy moustache. There I was at this new school. For the first three weeks, I remember distinctly that I sat by myself at lunch and ate alone. I was kind of shy. I was miserable. And then something incredible happened. The most popular kid in the school decided to come and have lunch with me for a few days in a row. He probably doesn’t remember doing it, but I will never forget it. It didn’t cost the person who became my best friend, Andy Westmeyer, anything to sit at lunch with a transfer like me, but in many ways this simple act of kindness changed my life."
Vin Scully died yesterday. (This ESPN article and video provide a great overview.)
Scully broadcast baseball for 67 years. I remember his voice from my own childhood, when I was collecting baseball cards of my beloved Dodgers (managed by Tommy Lasorda). Over the years, as I listened to Scully, I have come to appreciate two gifts he shared so freely: one, his ability to paint a picture that I could clearly see, and two, the way he used words and silence to invite me to join him in the experience he was describing.
I read Judge Thapar's talk last night. I thought about Scully today, and watched a few segments that showcased his gifts:
As I listened, I realized my favorite thing about Scully: his kindness. His voice exuded kindness and affection for everyone. No wonder he worked so hard at his craft, to put the spotlight on others and invite each listener into the experiences he described.
So, this week, what one simple act of kindness can you do that might help another feel included or maybe even change a life?