I met a woman who shows me a small kindness five days a week. Well, to her it's a small kindness, but to me it's a big gesture. It's the sweetest, most day-making of gestures.
A few months ago I stepped on to the bus to find her sitting in the front row, the window seat. Her bag was on the seat beside her, so I quietly whispered to see if I could sit there instead. It's not like I really needed to explain myself, but I did anyway. "Sorry," I told her. "I'm nine weeks pregnant and feel really sick unless I sit in the front row." At that her eyes softened and she smiled. She told me about feeling sick with her first child but not with her second. "Be hopeful," she said.
The next day I found a man sitting in the window seat, the familiar woman beside him. As soon as I stepped on to the bus, she got up and moved to the second row. "I saved this for you," she said.
That same woman has saved the front row seat for me, in one way or another, every single day since that first time we met. Sometimes she's placed her bag beside her, other days she's told people it's "for a friend," and when necessary, she takes the seat herself so that she can give it up when I arrive.
It's honestly one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.
I know that it's just a seat, but as anyone who's ever dealt with motion sickness or morning sickness (or, lucky me, both!) understands, that small kindness can be a game changer. It brings that simple kind of relief that makes you breathe a bit easier, and I couldn't be more grateful to her — this thoughtful, one-of-a-kind stranger. My thank yous have gotten repetitive at this point, so I plan to bring her a little gift one of these days. A book, I think, because she reads a new one each week.
I'm sharing this because it's a good reminder to look out for other people. Do the small things, and not just for the ones you love, either, but for those who seem like they could use that little bit of hope.