*taking a break form “Things I Learned” this week to share this beautiful story from HelpOthers.org
“You probably don’t remember me,” she began, “but I have come back to file for Graduation with Distinction.” And then she pulled out a piece of paper from her wallet and gave it to me to read. It was my handwriting, but I didn’t remember writing it.
As the Assistant Director of the Honors Programs at the university, one of my jobs was to review student transcripts to make sure they met requirements for continuing in Honors. It was not uncommon for freshmen to have a rough start and be notified that they could no longer continue in Honors after their first semester. Sometimes second trimester report cards would be sent to us anyway, even though students were no longer in the program.
The note she handed me read, “Congratulations on your terrific second semester. While I know you may have been disappointed from your fall grades, you should feel wonderfully proud of how you have turned your effort around. That is an impressive achievement! Best of luck in keeping up the good work, and remember with a 3.5 average (which you can do) by your last semester, you qualify for Graduation with Distinction.”
I didn’t remember sending the note, handwritten (and not very neatly) on the bottom of her second semester transcript.
The student went on and said, “You can’t know what this meant to me. I have carried it in my wallet for three years and pulled it out anytime I didn’t want to do my work. For three years I have been planning on walking into your office and giving you this note and this transcript.” She handed me her latest transcript, 3.502. “I would like the paperwork for graduation with Distinction.”
I was awed and humbled. She cried and I wanted to. Writing the note seemed like nothing to me, but had meant so much to her. I really had no idea my actions had such meaning.
I have enjoyed this memory for many years — with gratitude for such an act of kindness. The kindness of course was not mine in writing the note (I only wish I had written more notes to more students), but her kindness in wanting me to know that what I did had mattered.
Are you willing to plant a kindness seed today — or tell someone thank you for kindness they’ve offered you in the past?