My mother once told me that the most beautiful things in life are often the things that go unnoticed. And I’ve been thinking a lot about that.
I believe she’s right. After all, I’ve never known Mama to be wrong.
Mama was right when she told me to always wear clean undies. She was right when she told me to never eat yellow snow. I believe she was right about nearly everything.
As it happens, this morning I read about a few beautifully unnoticed things. These items came to me in the form of emails.
I receive a lot of emails. Many of these messages come from people I’ve never met, who live in places I’ve never been. These perfect strangers write to me about small events that took place; microscopic happenstances that go unseen by society.
Like the woman from Michigan who told me about a young single father who lives in her building.
The father needed a ride to work because his car died and he couldn’t afford a cab. His jobsite was located nine miles away. So he walked.
This became a routine. The man arose each morning and hoofed nine miles. Then he walked home after work.
He was walking 45-plus miles every week. Until last week.
Last week an older woman who drives a truck for a courier service had been noticing this man each morning. She pulled over and offered him a ride.
The man said no he’d be fine, and he kept walking. But the lady insisted, she did everything short of begging him to get in.
He got in. When she dropped him at work she asked, “What time you get off, hon?”
He told her.
She smiled. “I’ll be waiting right here to take you home.”
She’s been giving him rides all week. No charge.
I received another message from an elderly man in northern California who said he was out for a walk when he saw a teenage boy by the side of the road, clutching a bloody arm. The kid was clearly injured.
The old man approached the kid. The teenager was Latino, and couldn’t speak much English.
So the old man whipped out his cellphone. He called his ex-wife in Pennsylvania, who is a retired high-school Spanish teacher.
It bears mentioning: the old man hadn’t spoken to his ex in over 20 years. When she heard his voice you could have knocked her over with a quesadilla.
The old man put his ex-wife on speaker and she translated a very confusing conversation from across the North American continent.
It turns out the kid’s arm was severely broken when he fell from a moving vehicle. Thanks to the marvels of cellular communication, and one totalmente increíble ex-wife, the man was able to get the kid help.
One more for you.
A guy outside Alexandria, Virginia, found a stray dog in his neighborhood. The dog was female, with a sagging midsection and a thickened belly.
The old girl had been reportedly stealing cat food from local porches and nosing in garbage cans.
The man tailed the old girl into nearby woods one day where he found a litter of wiggling newborn puppies nestled in a pile.
That afternoon, he coaxed the old girl to let him carry her puppies home using an old Radio Flyer wagon. The mother followed close behind. He set the dogs up in his den with blankets and quilts.
And it gets better.
A few days later, a couple of kids were wandering the neighborhood, handing out posters for a lost dog. They knocked on the guy’s door; he responded by introducing them to their missing dog and nine newborn puppies.
Both kids erupted into a mess of saltwater and snot. “We thought she got hit by a car!” they said.
The old man plans to keep one of the puppies.
One last story before I go. A guy in Texas sent this one.
Dan and his girlfriend, Cherilyn, have been volunteering at a small homeless shelter. Last month, while serving food to dozens of hungry people, Dan asked Cherilyn to marry him publicly, in front of the shelter’s dining room.
She said yes.
Immediately after the proposal, many of the homeless onlookers were so overcome with emotion that several began digging into their rucksacks and ragged pockets for impromptu wedding gifts.
The people in rags formed a single-file receiving line and gave their humble scrapyard gifts to the happy couple, along with well wishes and occasional tears.
Among the gifts Dan received were an iPhone charger, a plastic cup, a slightly used sudoku book, a warm can of Coke, and a hand towel that was apparently confiscated from a Hampton Inn and Suites.
“I’ve never been so moved,” said Dan. “These people gave us some of their only possessions.”
Well, I could keep going, but I’m running out of space. So I won’t tell you about the birthdays, retirement parties, or about the Little Leaguer who rescued a turtle with a cracked shell this week.
I won’t tell you about the young woman who, on a whim, quit her supermarket job to teach piano and voice lessons, and now makes a living doing something she loves.
Neither will I tell you about the old lady who, for the first time, met the child she gave up for adoption 56 years ago.
What I will tell you is this: Mama was right.
Sandi. - April 28, 2021 6:28 am
Yes,your Mama was indeed right, Sean. Good heartwarming stories like these never go out of style.
Mark D MacIntyre - April 28, 2021 6:34 am
You are a Pip, my friend. I work 2nd/3rd shift in a hospital emergency room and experience many beautiful unnoticed acts of kindness. I am so glad you post in the middle of the night bc you are the last thing I read before turning out the lights. I sleep well with a “Sean story” in my mind and heart. Always remember…”watch out where the Huskies go, don’t you eat that yellow snow”!
Joan Mitchell - April 28, 2021 7:08 am
We so need to know about these beautiful things! They’re evidence that there’s lots of good in the world, and they inspire us to be part of it. Thank you!
Leigh Amiot - April 28, 2021 10:46 am
Starting the day with a smile…as it should be.
Deborah Blount - April 28, 2021 10:48 am
Your mama was definitely right.
Trig - April 28, 2021 11:15 am
Bringing a little light into the world, one candle at a time. Thanks, Sean. You’re a great writer.
joan moore - April 28, 2021 11:24 am
When you write,we notice. Get on the road and get some of these people’s lives on film, along with the written story.
Tammy Troutman - April 28, 2021 11:48 am
And keep in mind what you do for even the least of these your brethren you do also unto Me. ( I strongly consider animals as “brethren)
Jessica - April 28, 2021 12:13 pm
Just beautiful and so inspiring.
Jo Ann - April 28, 2021 12:34 pm
So many wonderful things go unnoticed. Please, keep those stories coming, Sean.
Debbie g - April 28, 2021 12:37 pm
Great stories Sean and absolutely right Tommy Great day and love to all
j - April 28, 2021 12:41 pm
What I heard when I was younger and finally realized was true: The older I get, the wiser my Mom gets.
Jan - April 28, 2021 12:43 pm
Thank you, Sean, for bringing these beautiful things to our attention. Most of all, thanks to your Mother for raising you to be the wonderful person you are. A person who notices things most people don’t even see and then helping us to see those things too through your eyes and your wonderful descriptions.
George Durham - April 28, 2021 12:48 pm
What is your email? I would like to share encouraging stories with you. You bring lots of light into our crazy world.
Sandi. - April 29, 2021 8:12 am
George D., you can click on the word Contact in the upper right corner of the screen (next to the word Archives), and you can e-mail Sean that way. Hope this helps!
Eleanor Dietrich - April 28, 2021 12:56 pm
This is kin to The Kindness Diaries on Netfllix and You Tube
Cathy Penner - April 28, 2021 3:54 pm
Real man with real heart! Thankyou, for noticing the REAL!
Dean - April 28, 2021 12:59 pm
Great way to start the day off. I love stories with happy ending. Thank You for writing your column
Bob Brenner - April 28, 2021 1:37 pm
Extremely touching column! Theirs so much “Good” in this world ❤️
kathleenivy - April 28, 2021 2:03 pm
Thank you Sean, for bringing to light the small rays that make up the sun that can heal our lives. They are so easy to brush aside as our mind is grabbed by dark headlines. Thank God for them, for our ability to read about and honor them, and for you writing about them. A great way to start my day.
Shirley Arbet - April 28, 2021 2:37 pm
Such touching stories/glimpses of real life hidden from the rest of us, until you shared them. What a gifted writer you are.
S - April 28, 2021 2:55 pm
So inspired by your writing! Thanks for saying it like it is….definitely a bright spot in my day!
Christina - April 28, 2021 3:47 pm
Your mama is so wise. Every day you help us notice what really matters in this life.
Linda Moon - April 28, 2021 4:58 pm
Mamas are never wrong. I bet there are lots of Mamas reading these beautiful things from your stories right now. So, keep the “one mores” coming for your readers. And thank you, Mrs. Dietrich, for telling your son about LIFE’s beautiful things. You are one of them!
Bill - April 28, 2021 6:34 pm
Great examples of people helping other people. We should all strive for this.
MAM - April 28, 2021 6:59 pm
Thanks to Your Mama, Sean. She raised a great man! And, of course, Mamas are never wrong. Just ask any Mama and she’ll agree. 🙂
Gail Bohlman - April 28, 2021 7:14 pm
Your posts are my counterbalance to the discouragement in our country today. Please never stop.
elizabethroosje - April 28, 2021 7:50 pm
Thanks so much Sean. Your blog is a consoling presence in my life
Chasity Davis Ritter - April 28, 2021 8:24 pm
Momma is always right…..
johnallenberry - April 29, 2021 12:56 am
Speaking of saltwater and snot… you did it to me again, Sean.
Michael - April 29, 2021 1:28 pm
Sean, do what you have to to keep on the sunny side. I have struggled with depression for years and have found that while depression can be seen as a neurochemical imbalance, or as a spiritual phenomenon (namely, accepting a set of lies that God does not love you), or a psychological disorder (anger turned inwards), what works best, usually, is counting my blessings and loving those in my path. Your writing works as well as medicine does for me. I hate to think of starting my day without it.
Carol M - April 29, 2021 2:28 pm
Saltwater & snot, right here 🥲😂xo