Today is my daughter’s last day of grade five. It’s been quite a year, full of challenges and important lessons.
She has shown great leadership qualities, and while I can’t tell you how proud I am of the outstanding young woman she is becoming, I can offer a short anecdote.
The other day we were out for dinner. Sitting across from us was an elderly gentleman. He sat alone, sipping his coffee and staring off into the distance.
Right away, I could sense an overwhelming sadness in him. I know it sounds crazy, but I had a strong visceral feeling that he was missing someone. As we ordered our meals it became clear that the person he yearned to be with wasn’t going to show.
Intermittently, he looked down at his gold wedding band, and when a jovial middle-aged couple shared a kiss nearby, the pain emanating from him became so intense that I could feel it in my bones. I wanted to help him, but I wasn’t sure how.
By this point my daughter had honed in on the scenario. As we looked into each other’s welling eyes, she said, “We should pay for his dinner.”
I reached across our table, took her hands in mine and squeezed. Yes, I nodded.
His food arrived at the same time as ours. We had to be somewhere, so we finished quickly, and when the server brought our bill, I asked if we could pay for the man’s meal.
“That’s very kind,” she said. “Is there anything you want me to tell him?” Unsure what to say, I looked to my daughter.
Without missing a beat, she smiled, looked up at the server with bright eyes, and said, “Just tell him we hope that he has a nice day.”