This is a recount from a couple of years ago…that’s worth retelling.

I was late picking up my daughter from school. Her school was located on a busy street in Santa Monica where parking spaces are at a premium, meters are everywhere, and the meter police take their jobs very, very seriously. If you don’t have a quarter and run in to the store to get change, you will have a $40 ticket by the time you get back…and there is NO taking your way out of it.

Anyway, back to the story. I was in a rush, late, and frustrated by something that happened at the office. In short, I wasn’t in the best of moods. I was coming down the street and saw not one but two parking spaces right in front of the school. Wow! I thought, and rushed forward to nab one of them. The person in the car in front of me decided to take one of them. No problem, I thought looking at my clock and realizing I was now 10 minutes late, I’ll just take the other space. Well, I am not sure what he else he was doing in his car besides driving, but he seemed to move at a slug’s pace stopping, looking at where he needed to back up to, putting the car in reverse, checking to see where he was going, inching back, looking again, etc. Then, once he settled into the parking space and I moved up to position myself to take the one in front, he moved up to take that space. “Crap!” I said aloud, and looked in my review mirror and began to back up so I could take the other space. While I did, a car drove up behind me and blared his horn. At that point, I lost it. I looked over at the person (turned out to be a man) as if to say, Thanks a lot! The car behind went around me and blared his horn again.

Once I got in my space, I watched the man walk to his parking meter and put money into it. Then he looked in my direction and began to walk down the sidewalk towards my car. He met my gaze and then locked in. His face wasn’t angry or defensive, as I’m sure mine was. His was…peaceful. Then, he gave me a compassionate smile as if to say, It’s going to be all right. Really. Then proceeded to put money in my meter and walked away.

I was completely diffused. I sat there for a moment and took a deep breath, letting what just happened to register. I sent him a silent blessing of thanks, got out of the car and realized that he put in a full hour’s worth of change.

This moment, as simple as it was, taught me SO much. It humbled me and showed me how powerful kindness is. I am certain I will remember the man for many years to come.

It just goes to show you, we never know how far reaching our simple acts of kindness will be.