Look for moments when the world is need of a good deed, and you will find yourself surrounded with positive opportunities.
Posted in , Oct 19, 2017
On a recent sunny, crisp fall morning, I found the last outdoor table at my favorite café. Reading as I nibbled my breakfast, I was enjoying the feeling of the cool breeze and the warm sun when a table next to me opened up. A woman who had been standing nearby, clearly waiting for a seat, stepped toward the table. But from the other direction, straight from the parking lot, came a man who got to the table first.
The woman, with a smile on her face, explained that she’d been keeping her eye on that table for several minutes and had been on her way over. The man, also smiling but unwavering, told her she was out of luck; he had happened upon the table first. “You snooze, you lose!” he said cheerfully.
She stood off to the side, clearly disappointed, and greeted her friend with the frustrating news. I sat at my table, taking in the scene, when suddenly it occurred to me—I have an opportunity here. An opportunity to be kind.
I stood up and signaled her over to my table. Quietly, I told her I had seen what had happened, and I was happy to give her my table. I was only going to be there a few more minutes anyway, so I was happy for her and her friend to have the spot.
“But where will you sit?” she asked. I was almost done eating, I said, and I would find a seat at the counter inside. She thanked me and beamed as she gestured for her friend to sit down.
Thinking about it as I finished up, I realized that whether or not the woman had legitimate claim to the table was unimportant. The emotion of the situation—the look of hurt and incredulity on her face—had struck me, and I had the ability to do something about it.
That isn’t always the case with every feeling, situation,or injustice we encounter in our days. But as the early 20th century writer Orison Swett Marden once said, “Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great.”
I just hope that woman’s morning at the café was great. I know mine was.
In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, "Thought Conditioners". Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader