Today at the store I watched a young guy hold the door open for a mother of three. He trotted ahead and threw open the door with a grand flourish as if to say, “After you, mademoiselle.”
The woman stopped cold in her steps.
She had a baby on her hip, a toddler holding her hand, and her oldest child was bringing up the rear, finger shoved in his nose. The woman was young, her clothes had food stains on them, and she looked like she hadn’t slept since the last papal installation.
“Thanks,” she said. And her face was bright red.
What I want to know is why.
Why did this young man perform this small act of goodwill? After all, I’m sure the kid has a chaotic life just like the rest of us. I’m sure he was in a hurry. He had important stuff going on, places to be, people to text. So why did he take 12 seconds out of his day to help a stranger?
Furthermore, what purpose did this nicety really accomplish within the grand schematic of existence?
Let’s be honest here. Did this woman need help opening a door? Not really. We are talking about a woman with perfectly functional opposable thumbs. She had plenty of options when it came to opening a door for herself.
She could have (a) set her kid down and simply opened the door. Or she could have (b) told the oldest kid to quit digging for nasal gold and open the door. And of course there’s always (c) using her foot.
The hack journalist in me was curious, so I approached the kid and asked why he opened the door.
His first reaction was embarrassment. Then he added, “Aw, it was really nothing, man.”
Astounding. Because it didn’t look like nothing. If this act was indeed nothing, then why did it make me feel good all over? Why did I come home and write several paragraphs about a kid I’ll likely never meet again? I’ll tell you why: to meet my daily word count.
But also because being nice is not nothing. Kindness, by definition, is the exact opposite of “nothing.”
Yesterday, I went to get my haircut. Before my appointment I sat in the waiting room, reading a 17-year-old dry-rotted copy of “Woman’s World.”
Meantime, I watched a hair stylist cut an old man’s hair, making conversation, and just generally being cheerful. The man spoke with labored speech, and half his face was paralyzed. I was thinking maybe he’d had a recent stroke.
When the haircut was finished, the stylist removed his cape and told the man the haircut was free.
The old man couldn’t believe it. He did what most decent guys would’ve done and removed $20 from his pocket.
The stylist said, “No. Please. I don’t want your money.”
He insisted; she refused. They did this little dance for several minutes until the man finally gave up and thanked her, then turned to leave. But before he exited, do you know what he did?
He gave the money to a woman seated in the waiting area.
The old man handed the lady cash and said with strained speech, “Your haircut is on me today, ma’am.”
The woman appeared moved by his generosity. She thanked him and didn’t even bother explaining that no procedure involving women’s hair ever costs less than, at minimum, $250.
But that’s not the point. What I’m getting at is: why? Why all this goodwill toward men? What’s it all about?
And the reason I ask is because all these charitable people you encounter aren’t just random folks. These are your neighbors. Your coworkers. Your family. You are one of these people.
For the past several weeks my mother-in-law has been lying in her sickbed under hospice care. Nurses are constantly checking her stats, administering meds, and telling us to prepare ourselves for death. We have spent these last days holed up in a house just waiting.
At times it’s been exhausting. Sometimes it’s been tough just remembering to eat regularly, let alone to keep writing mediocre columns.
But that’s where you stepped in. Over the past weeks you have flooded my family with emails, texts, messages, greeting cards, letters, care packages, anonymous pizza deliveries, bouquets, grocery drop-offs, and acts of kindness.
And all this kindness, to be perfectly honest, sometimes makes me feel sort of ashamed. Because sometimes I forget how good people are.
Sometimes it’s too easy to notice only the bad in this world. Sometimes it’s just simpler to focus on sadness. Sometimes it’s more convenient to see unfairness, injustice, and all the depraved souls who commit senseless acts of daytime television.
Sometimes I begin to have my doubts about our species. Sometimes I lose my way.
But then you come along. Smiling. Holding open the door. No, you might not be changing the entire world. But if you ask me, you are showing the world how such a thing can so easily be done.
So don’t tell me it’s nothing.
Jen B. @JenBennsJourney - August 6, 2021 6:55 am
Brought a tear to my eye. For a moment the kid’s “nothing” was the woman’s everything. And the man’s gesture after his haircut shows that kindness begets kindness. It’s easy to forget when the world spends its time riling us up. We just have to retrain our focus sometimes. Sending prayers of comfort for your mother-in-law and your whole family.
throughmyeyesusa - August 6, 2021 7:02 am
As is your daily offering to us an “act of kindness” that brightens so many lives, so many hearts, so many mornings. Thank you for that kindness, Sean. Prayers for strength and peace and love for you & Jamie, and comfortable days ahead for Mary and a peaceful passing when she goes to meet our Lord.
Te - August 6, 2021 9:48 am
You said what so many are thinking. We are all so blessed to have Sean’s viewpoint to remind us.
Leigh R Amiot - August 6, 2021 11:29 am
Melanie - August 6, 2021 7:13 am
Amen to that Sean. There are millions of tiny acts of kindness every single day. We need to remember that and tell the town criers of gloom, despair and agony* to take a one way hike.
(*credit to Hee Haw)
Keith - August 6, 2021 8:47 am
Sean I’m proud to live in a world where guys like you are getting air time. My world is brightened everyday with your words, thanks for taking the time to hold your readers doors
Gina - August 6, 2021 12:10 pm
Beautiful. And perfect. Well Said, Keith. – Gina
Sandi. - August 6, 2021 9:01 am
Kindness never goes out of style.
Robert - August 6, 2021 9:29 am
I agree it’s not nothing it’s everything
Meredith Smith - August 6, 2021 9:36 am
Sean, you are going through a difficult time right now and it’s easy to *think* that you wrote only about the bad stuff, but that isn’t the case. You wrote about all topics, from A-Z. And as far as the kindness in this world, I think some people are more predisposed to being kind than others. I might not be predisposed per se, but my Mantra is to Be Kind and I make every effort to live that way. And in essence I chose that lifestyle bc the mean ones just got me so down I a couldn’t take it anymore, I decided I’d kill em with kindness. (It was a little more than that but that’s the jest.)
So thank you for noticing people like the young man and the barber, they are more frequent than you’d think.
You just have to look for them.
And ps: please send my love to Mother Mary. Hold her hand for a couple seconds for me. And give Jamie a hug from me. For that matter, give yourself a hug too from me! 🥰
david grant - August 6, 2021 9:39 am
Always knew you were a good writer you are getting better: LOL With all the negative ‘stuff’ out there this article was a fresh breeze.
Dave - August 6, 2021 9:50 am
These columns are making me relive my Dad’s passing. I laugh and cry after reading them. Thank you. I truly believe God is in the little things. The small acts of kindness that you describe where nobody can answer the question of why do them is for me, evidence of God. Hang in there.
Lucretia Jones - August 6, 2021 10:00 am
Thank you, young man, and thank you, Sean.
Te - August 6, 2021 10:03 am
Now this is a weird thought, but being the noticing kinda person you are, you might know. Thinking about my own journey of reading your words before I even get out of bed in the wee hours (old people seem to need less sleep -or maybe it’s the naps), I was remembering the first time I read your column — about Ellie Mae (you had me for life at “bloodhound”), I wondered. What was Mother Mary’s relationship with your dogs? I bet she treated them like children, and I bet they loved her, too. I can see all their spirits of those already passed sitting and lying around her bed (and Ellie Mae sprawled as only bloodhounds do), patiently waiting for her. They are her special angels.
Connie - August 6, 2021 10:11 am
Thanks. I needed that today. God sure does use you. I’m glad!
Ed (Bear) - August 6, 2021 10:13 am
Your piece today is especially poignant. I woke up early two days ago and did not see one of your works in my Inbox. I immediately thought that Mary must have passed. I’m ashamed that I expected to see you early on in my Inbox. Your post that day came in just a little later. While I’m certain many folks like myself look forward to reading you, your generous and thoughtful works are gifts. I am out of bounds in expecting to see a new writing from you every day. I hear you say how much you love writing and it certainly shows. I hope meeting your word quota always remains a pleasure for you. You are holding the door open and passing kindness forward for all of us admiring readers.
Ellouise Pennington - August 6, 2021 1:29 pm
Ed: I experienced the exact same emotions!
Harriet - August 6, 2021 8:11 pm
Ed, I thought the same thing! I thought mother Mary had died and Sean needs break from writing for a while.
Sandy Nicholson - August 6, 2021 10:23 am
Sean, Your writing makes my day. You are a true blessing. God bless you and your family.
Amy Wells - August 6, 2021 10:27 am
Thank you for the reminder about the good in folks. Please know that all of you are in my prayers. I have been where you and Jamie are with both of my parents. God be with you all.
Carol - August 6, 2021 10:38 am
Oh Sean I wish I was close by, I would love to cook you some beans & cornbread plus some “Baptist “ fried chicken! Comfort food is what you need now, but I’m happy to know that people have stepped up and looked out for you & Jamie. Still sending prayers up for Ms. Mary as we know she is getting closer to be with Jesus. Love y’all
Samantha - August 6, 2021 10:41 am
That hymn…”Look for the beautiful, look for the true…”. I encourage you – everyone – to read those verses of song and poetry. Grace and peace to you and those you love.
Ken M. - August 6, 2021 11:20 am
Brother Sean… your writing always inspires me, and makes me remember that there are good people in the world — lots of them (you included). So, thanks for getting up every day and writing. Our prayers are with you, your wife and Mother Mary.
Bonnie Specchio - August 6, 2021 11:30 am
Thinking of you, Mother Mary and Jamie today. My sister and I sat vigil with our mom until she passed. Not easy, but so thankful we could be there. God bless you all.
CHARLA BIPPUS - August 6, 2021 11:41 am
I LOVE kindness!! Doing it & hearing about others who are doing it. There is a 2 season show calls Kindness Diaries. It is on Discovery+. It blew my mind and made me start looking for ways I can show kindness my little place in the world. If you get a chance to watch it you will be blessed. Leon Legothetis is an amazing human. Warning…tissues for each episode!! Love you Sean! Your haircut looks real nice! 😉💈
Karla B Harrell - August 6, 2021 12:44 pm
Thanks for reminding us about the Kindness Diaries and where it is. I live streamed it years ago and loved every episode as much as Sean of the South !
Susan L Forte - August 6, 2021 11:46 am
I, along with all of your faithful followers, begin my day with your thoughtful, insightful words. Thank you so much for reminding us to always look for the the goodness and kindness in this world. Continued prayers for Mother Mary Jaimie and you🙏♥️
Camilla - August 6, 2021 11:47 am
When the person I loved most passed away, the only thought that consoled me was how blessed we’d been to have her in our family while we did. Gratitude is hard sometimes, but required. ❤️
Sarah - August 6, 2021 11:53 am
You are so right, Sean. Kindness costs us nothing. Neither does compassion, acceptance, and understanding. Thank you for pointing us back to a gentler world.
Suellen - August 6, 2021 11:55 am
I’m relatively new to your world but I haven’t seen a mediocre column yet.
Bob E - August 6, 2021 11:58 am
Quite a story about ‘nothing’.
A lot of nothings really mean something.
Keep it up sir.
Linda Vaughan - August 6, 2021 12:01 pm
We can be the hands and feet of Jesus in our daily lives, showing love and kindness to everyone, especially those needing it most.
Nancy Crews - August 6, 2021 12:07 pm
❤your writing. Thank you. It is not easy to keep going when you are about to lose someone. And that’s not nothing.
Ann - August 6, 2021 12:11 pm
Mediocre is a word never associated with your column……reminders of all the good out there is refreshing because we are being bombarded with negative messages every day. All the stress and sadness you are dealing with and you continue to keep your inspirational words flowing…bless you and Jamie
annebridgers - August 6, 2021 12:13 pm
So much love coming your way today and every day!
Susie - August 6, 2021 12:16 pm
I was so lucky yesterday. I found one of your books at Ollie’s store! I hugged it because it is a real treasure! Thank you!
Kathy - August 6, 2021 12:19 pm
So shines a good deed in a weary world. – Shakespeare
pyrthroes - August 6, 2021 12:25 pm
Do small things out of love, and great things follow.
Paul McCutchen - August 6, 2021 12:26 pm
I always say “character” in a person is when that person does something honest or good that no one sees. I am sure Mother Mary could see that in you. May God bless her and your family.
KMarie - August 6, 2021 12:27 pm
Thank you. I have so much to pay forward. I am also sitting vigil and kindness to a stranger or loved one adds balance and hope. Prayers to you and your loved ones.
Suzanne Moore - August 6, 2021 12:39 pm
Sean, it is definitely NOT nothing when someone performs a simple act of kindness and humanity. It can be everything, as you are learning right now. This post was like a mega vitamin for my soul, and I thank you for it and for all of your daily offerings. I send love to you and all of your human and canine family.
Ruth Kujawa - August 6, 2021 12:53 pm
Thank you Sean for your daily stories in my email. They brighten my day, give me something to ponder and even more to be thankful for. Praying for Ms. Mary, you and Jamie.
One Ann in Mobile - August 6, 2021 12:58 pm
Sean; it’s not nothing. It’s not everything, but real kindness, selfless acts of compassion for others who are suffering, may well be the best of everything.
djm - August 6, 2021 12:59 pm
Thanks for reminding me to be kind–instead of selfish and ungrateful for my blessings=and realize they outnumber my complaints.
Babette Authement - August 6, 2021 1:01 pm
Hugs and prayers!!
Al. Cato - August 6, 2021 1:03 pm
Often we think that a true act of kindness must be a grand gesture that makes the local or even national news many times done for notoriety. The little acts of kindness almost insignificant in the grand scheme can and do have an impact greater than we think possible. You, your readers and followers know this. Let’s all constantly look for opportunities along our life’s journey to show a little kindness. It could become a habit and a very good habit. May God continue to shower you, Jaime and Mother Mary with His Grace, Mercy and Healing Power as you all minister to Mother Mary. Blessings to you all.
Trish Ezell - August 6, 2021 1:07 pm
Kindness is never “nothing”. An act of kindness can change the direction of someone’s day. Thank you for taking time out of your day to share your kindness with us. My prayers continue for Mary’s sweet release into the arms of Jesus, for Jamie to have a measure of peace and for you Sean, as you support both of the women you so dearly love.
diane h. toney - August 6, 2021 1:18 pm
I don’t pretend to be a Sean of the South, but writing is my therapy and my joy. Although not as touching as your take on the goodness of people, I wrote in my blog about the anti-culture of enjoying being unhappy. Take 2 minutes to go to wordsfromwoods.com and read HAPPY TO BE UNHAPPY. A different approach on the same idea.
Apric73 - August 6, 2021 1:24 pm
Right on! Love thy neighbor…..and not just the neighbor you know. You don’t have to save the world, just the person next to you.
Ellouise Pennington - August 6, 2021 1:27 pm
It’s awfully easy to love you and your family. If I knew where you live, I’d drive from Atlanta to your home just to tell you hello. Mostly, to meet Mother Mary
H J Patterson - August 6, 2021 1:35 pm
Thank God there’re young lads like this and numerous other people of various ages among us but I truly believe there’re less now than in the past. There’s just to much of the LAM (look at me) crowd in our society. As for me, I’ll continue to open doors for anyone.
Kate - August 6, 2021 1:36 pm
I often have young men open and hold the door for me. I always smile brightly and tell them thank you. Someone taught them well. And if I see someone who needs help I always open and hold the door for them. It is called having good manners. 😊 and having good manners is also a type of kindness and respect for others. Respect helps bring people together. And Sean, you remind us everyday about goodness, love, kindness, and respect. Thank you.
Tom Wallin - August 6, 2021 1:40 pm
Right on brother. Back at you.
KARLA G MEIER - August 6, 2021 1:54 pm
My grandma told me “when life seems dark and troubled, look to the ones giving help – they are God’s angels here on earth.”
May God keep sending his angels to you and your family as you care for your loved one!
Peggy - August 6, 2021 1:57 pm
Love to you and your family!
Maggie Priestaf - August 6, 2021 2:00 pm
What special eyes God has given you. I, for one, am very glad,
DONNA FISHER - August 6, 2021 2:12 pm
Beautiful thoughts. With all of the hatred, labeling, and intolerance in our world today, It’s good to remember the ordinary people who make their part of the world better.
Bill - August 6, 2021 2:25 pm
CHARALEEN WRIGHT - August 6, 2021 2:37 pm
Pamela R Buono - August 6, 2021 2:40 pm
Love you, Sean of the South Dietrich…keep on writin’ …
Ed Peacher Jr - August 6, 2021 3:03 pm
As everyone else has already said this morning about Kindness – I experience it all the time. I lost my entire right leg when I was a kid of 10 to bone cancer, and after a number of years of using an artificial prosthesis – now using crutches. How much it helps me when strangers will see me approaching a door and open it for me. Whenever I go grocery shopping – sitting in one of those cart – reaching up high to get an “out of reach item” is a challenge – and oh the number of times that a customer will ask if they can be of help. I was having lunch with 2 friends back on Tuesday. I got up on my crutches, took a step, and did a fall from standing – T I M B E R! (Raucous Laughter) My friends checked on me, helped me get up to a sitting chair, and also fetched a wheelchair that I keep in my vehicle. They followed me home to wheel me into my residence and helped me get to my bed. Since the fall my leg has been lacking in strength so there are folks volunteering to get meals for me, etc. Oh yeah – there is tons of HELP everywhere – and I thank ALMIGHTY GOD for HIS HELP and for HIS kids that show OODLES of KINDNESS! BLESSINGS to you Sean, your wife and PRECIOUS MARY!
Debbie g - August 6, 2021 3:20 pm
Amen to you and all your readers love to all and random acts of kindness. ❤️❤️
alisonbaird765 - August 6, 2021 3:32 pm
I love you! We went through a similar situation with my father three years ago. You may not realize it but you are in a sacred space right now. The space between this world and the next. I have precious memories of this time I spent with my dad waiting for the angels to carry him home. May you know only peace during this sacred moment.
Pat Canfield - August 6, 2021 3:36 pm
IN SYMPATHY: What must it be to step on shore and find it – heaven.
To take hold of a hand and find it – God’s hand.
To breath a new air and find it – celestial air.
To feel invigorated and find it – immorality;
To rise from the care and turmoil of earth and into one unbroken calm,
To wake up and find it – Glory!
My sympathies are with you and your wife.
Laurie - August 6, 2021 3:40 pm
I enjoy reading your column and truly love your honesty about people and believing we are still kind. Please know you are in my prayers and I hope today is a good one for you all!
Stacey Wallace - August 6, 2021 3:48 pm
Sean, thanks for starting my mornings off right. You’re right; what that young man did was something and not nothing. As a retired English teacher, I just cringed at that double negative. I used to tell my students that the good people need to outnumber the bad people, so they should be one of the good ones. Whenever someone holds the door open for me, I thank them and say, “Your Mama and Daddy raised you right.” Thank the Good Lord mine did, too. Love and prayers for you, your wife, and Mother Mary.
brenjsan611770 - August 6, 2021 3:49 pm
Patricia Gibson - August 6, 2021 4:03 pm
Thanks for the reminder Sean and you are so right! Lots of hugs coming your way❤️❤️
Rhonda Hooks - August 6, 2021 4:13 pm
For as much as you have done it to one of these…you have done it unto the Lord himself.
cajuntiger74 - August 6, 2021 5:47 pm
Cheri Johnston - August 6, 2021 4:15 pm
After my Bible verse, you’re the 1st email I open. I ❤ love your columns! My prayers are with your
family. At 72 I’ve lost many….🙏🙏🙏💗💗💗
Ann Bodiford - August 6, 2021 4:27 pm
Sean, I read your stories every day. This one really touched my heart.
Kenneth S - August 6, 2021 4:37 pm
Love to see the young man stepping up for the mom. We old guys do it all the time.
Kim Esser - August 6, 2021 5:00 pm
May Gods love wrap your family in warmth and calm your hurting spirits. You’re a true talent and gift to the world. May you and your family experience peace and comfort in these trying times. Thank you for continuing to brighten our days even through your darkest.
Linda Moon - August 6, 2021 5:19 pm
I often want to know why there is so much good in the world yet still so much wrong. Your word count today is approximately 2,345,725, and I’m glad you’re still writing, Hack. You brought out my inner Roseanne Roseannadanna today: “It’s always something.” She was right, and so are you. LIFE and kindness are ALWAYS something. And I’m telling you right now, “You’re something else, too, Sean Dietrich”.
Ruth Ann Hayes - August 6, 2021 5:32 pm
Your column is always a bright start to my day, but I want to thank you especially today for reminding me that our world is filled with good, caring people. In my 82 years on this earth I have never met or even been around anyone like the people who are showcased on TV and in the media every day until we start to believe only evil and ugliness exists. That is so untrue and shameful that they are the only ones we hear about. I am 82 years old and lost my wonderful husband four years ago, and I can’t even begin to tell you how many of my friends and church family constantly call me, check on me, offer to help me with anything I need. Just a couple of examples – One couple that my husband and I always went out to dinner with still pick me up every week and we go out to eat. Another friend gets highly offended if I even suggest that I can to to a doctors appointment without her. She is on first name basis with every doctor I have.
My late husband was one of those who was always performing “random” acts of kindness. Once we came out of a restaurant and saw an elderly lady struggling to open her car door and deal with her walker at the same time. Ed went to her and took care of the walker, helped her into her car, and got her settled in. Then he reached in and pulled her safety belt down and as he leaned across her to buckle it in, she kissed his cheek. It was so sweet. Like the young man who opened the door for the young mother, Ed was not only touched but surprised, because that was just who he was.
Another time he was in a store waiting for an order when a little boy came in and asked for an Icee. When the clerk brought it Ed told her to just add the Icee to his tab. The little boy thanked him very nicely and Ed promptly forgot all about it. But when he went out a few minutes later, the little boy was waiting for him. The boy threw his arms around Ed and thanked him over and over. When he got home Ed told me about it, and said it was just an Icee, but I told him
it wasn’t just an Icee to that little boy.
God bless you and your sweet family.
Keith Francis - August 6, 2021 5:37 pm
Blessings to you and your bride. This is the best stuff I have read from you. I appreciate your candor and the stories you share.
cajuntiger74 - August 6, 2021 5:46 pm
Beautiful commentary. You are a blessing to me and, I’m sure, to thousands of others.
Cynthia Russell - August 6, 2021 6:10 pm
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR HEART.. TO NOTICE THE KINDNESS OF OTHERS & PASS IT ON TO US… THIS TRULY TOUCHED MY HEART.. SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE WE ARE ALL INVISIBLE TO EACH OTHER.. I AM GUILTY OF NOT DOING MY PART.. TODAY I DROVE DOWN A STREET & PASSED AN OLDER GENTLEMAN TAKING WATER OUT OF HIS CAR .. PLACEING IT ON THE SEAT OF HIS WHEELCHAIR & ROLLING IT INTO THE HOUSE.. I KNEW I should of stopped & helped.. but I didn’t only because I’m 68 & thought he would be insulted by my act of kindness.. but I said a blessing for him… & hoped everything was okay for him… (and if I did – knowing me….I would have probably adopted his family…)
Barbara J Schweck - August 6, 2021 6:26 pm
Boy, did I need this reminder today!! I have been watching too much news lately and got pulled in to the abyss. I live in a community with the most, giving, caring, kind people ever. Simple kindnesses and big gifts of love are shared everyday. I need never forget how fortunate I am. Prayers for you, your wonderful wife, and Mother Mary.
MAM - August 6, 2021 6:26 pm
The more kindness we see in our world the better it makes our lives every day. And if we are the purveyors of the kindness, God notices, especially if no one else does. Keep up the wonderful, inspirational writing you provide to us every day, Sean.
AlaRedClayGirl - August 6, 2021 6:31 pm
A little bit of kindness goes a long way and it’s free.
Mary Louise Griffin - August 6, 2021 6:35 pm
I’m reading every word, Sean, and praying for you, Jamie and your family. You are more optimistic than I am. I don’t think there are more good people than bad in the world. I’m glad you meet the good. God bless.
Steve McCaleb - August 6, 2021 6:52 pm
Being children of a benevolent Father gives us humans a great capacity for kindness, love and caring and through our own human failings…..an equal ability to be cruel, indifferent and petty. The choice is ours. Some people just need a nudge, some encouragement, or maybe just a good example. But common kindness and human compassion are in no way ordinary virtues. They are the building blocks of everything The MAN wants us to do while we’re here. YouTube:Lorie McKenna- Humble and Kind. Please listen to this version by the lady who wrote it. It’ll take you where you need to go.
Rebecca Souders - August 6, 2021 6:53 pm
I am 78 years old and yesterday a young man offered me his arm when I was faced with three — count ’em, three! — steps to exit a restaurant. I can’t remember the last time that happened: an offered arm to help. That unexpected gesture had me smiling all the way home. I offer you a smile today, Sean, for your pleasure and for those around you. Peace.
Michele Tiller - August 6, 2021 6:55 pm
By the way, Sean, your “daily word count” is for me in the same category as all of these “nice” people you have included in this essay. THANK YOU. (for “nothing”!?!, er, showing the world how it can be done.)
Christina - August 6, 2021 7:01 pm
I never get tired of your messages of kindness. It’s what keeps us going everyday!
Harriet - August 6, 2021 8:02 pm
How is it that you go from “a boy opening a door” to “daily word count” to “goodwill toward men”?
THEN you end up at “it ain’t nothing”
Your writing is like reading messages from Heaven…how do you do it? I Don’t know.
But but it’s a gift from god.
Victoria Lauritsen - August 6, 2021 8:55 pm
I love this….I remember when my Grandmother had just passed, I had gone to the convenience store and as I was leaving, someone held the door open for me. Normally I always make eye contact and thank someone for this gesture, but that day my mind was thinking about my Grandmother and I just walked out. The lady was so upset that I didn’t say ‘thank you’ that she called me something not-so-clever while letting me know I should have thanked her. I stopped, turned and just looked at her and said “thank you” and turned and walked away. I remember thinking about all the times it’s annoyed me when people are too in a hurry to hold a door or say “thank you” or “please”. And that day I realized, we never know what someone else is going through, and we should do our best to not make assumptions.
P.S. I have your stories e-mailed to me daily. And I save most in a folder titled “Sean’s Stories” to re-read when I’m having rough days. These stories lately with your mother in law may not be some people’s favorite, but I agree with you that they must have never had the heart ache, and also privilege, of being with a loved one while they pass. These stories remind me of many family members I have sat with during those final days, and it’s also brought back a lot of great memories with them. You and your wife are in my prayers!
Linda Tucker - August 7, 2021 12:06 am
I am so sorry that this is happening but you can be sure that your mother-in-law is aware that the both of you are there for her. Your affection for her shows in every word you write about her and I will always remember her comment about catching you naked. She had a very quick wit.
Suzanne Brantley - August 7, 2021 12:12 am
So beautiful, Sean! A little kindness goes such a long way these days! The world is starving for this kind of generosity!
John Swingle - August 7, 2021 12:51 am
I have always held doors, given compliments etc.. I love the way a woman’s face lights up when you compliment their hairdo and keep on walking and they realize that you’re not hitting on them, you just really like their hair. Some are silent but most will respond with a thank you.
Now that I’m 74 I must be looking the part as I find people holding the door for me. I graciously accept their help and make sure to thank them.
Thank you for your wit and wisdom. I look forward to your column every day.
ALBERT E BRELAND - August 7, 2021 8:39 am
I read your article, forwarded to me by a friend in Alabama, with great interest. I’m a retired physician, 82 years old, and am delighted to hear anything good that happens in the world since the news media seem generally to ignore such events. I thought you might appreciate a quote from A War of Nerves, a book about PTSD: The Old Army–the pre-1914 British Regular Army–was based on a set of traditional values, like the officers’ code recalled, half a century later, by a captain in a Scottish regiment. “Psychologists, sociologists and the like had not yet been invented so there was no pernicious jargon to cloud simple issues. Right was right and wrong was wrong and the Ten Commandments were an admirable guide…Frugality, austerity, and self-control were then perfectly acceptable. We believed in honor, patriotism, self-sacrifice, and duty and we clearly understood what was meant by a ‘gentleman’.”
And I still believe in opening doors for ladies, offering an arm,, or walking on the outside even though the roads nowadays are all paved. The old courtesies have largely fallen by the wayside, to societies’ detriment, but it’s never really out of place to be polite and helpful.
“I shall pass this way but once; any
good that I can do or any kindness
I can show, let me do it now. Let me
not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not
pass this way again.”
Etienne de Grellet 1773-1855
Albert E. Breland, Jr. M.D.
Keloth Anne - August 7, 2021 11:23 am
Kindness and compassion always necessary and you always find a wonderful way to share goodness with all of us. Prayers and love are with Mother Mary, Jamie and you 💕🙏♥️
ROBERT L GLASSCOCK - August 7, 2021 7:18 pm
Prayers with you Sean.
Penn Wells - August 7, 2021 9:55 pm
Of course such simple gestures should not be ignored. But too often we let those acts take the place of a much larger effort… one the patches the roof as opposed to continuously mopping up the water. We have a lot of people suffering in our country right now. And giving a few bucks to the old guy on the street corner, while nice, really doesn’t accomplish much does if?
We have serious problems, and we need serious serious people to help solve them.
Mary McAlister - August 8, 2021 4:36 pm
Thank you for creating, for sharing, for showing the good in the world. And don’t try to tell me that “It’s just a job.”
Susan Granade - August 8, 2021 11:47 pm
Just–WOW!!! What a lovely message, written in your inimitable style!!! BTW, I’ve put one of my good friends onto your posts. She is already hooked!
Rikki - August 9, 2021 2:55 pm
Bill Harris - August 10, 2021 1:13 am
Thank you Sean. It is something. Peace and good will toward all men.