Editor’s note — May 26 to 30 is ‘Kindness Connects’ week in Langley.
Through an initiative by the non-profit organization, You’ve Gotta Have Friends, this week has been dedicated to fostering good will among friends and strangers alike.
The week’s celebrations will wind up with a dance at McBurney Plaza on Friday night, May 30, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. but the hope is the good will it has generated will last all year long.
The public was invited to share random acts of kindness they’ve experienced or witnessed, by jotting them down in a short letter.
Here are the examples submitted.
Editor: We were attending a banquet and the typical door prize winners were being called. To understand this story you need to understand the insane excitement my husband gets around prizes — actually getting anything for free. I have known him to drop by a car dealership, just to get a free coffee.
Needless to say, winning is probably next to getting into heaven for him.
Around our table we started talking about which prize we would love to get. Our neighbour mentioned that for her it would be the phone they were offering.
Her son had just wrecked his phone and she couldn’t see how she could get him another one for a couple of months — an impossibly long time for a teenage boy.
Sure enough, our table got called but the number called wasn’t hers. It was my husband’s.
Thrilled to the bone, he went up and came back with a beaming face. As he sat back down at our table I could see what was passing through his mind even before he leaned over and whispered what he was thinking.
He quietly spoke with the lady and handed over the phone. The best prize for both of us was the look of delighted surprise on her face.
Editor: I was born with cerebral palsy and am dependent on my scooter (the “Bradmobile”) to get me around.
A couple of weeks ago I was on my way to Willowbrook Mall on my scooter, and I ran over some glass which burst my two front tires.
Then, on my way back, I ran into a curb and my two back tires were also wrecked.
When my friend Josh heard about it, he called me to say he would check out my wheels the next day.
He fixed all my tires and got me back on the road again.
This isn’t the first time Josh has helped me out. When he hears I need help with anything, he’s always there.
We also have “bro’ time.” Josh and I work on cars together and take road trips. His friendship means a lot to me.
Editor: We had tons of fun giving free hugs with You’ve Gotta Have Friends for Valentine’s Day.
Although a few people were shy to engage, it was incredible to see the number of people who were stoked about receiving a free hug.
We all agreed that we loved the couple from Ontario. They had recently moved from the east and were stretched beyond their limit, settling in and trying to find jobs. They were desperately on a job hunt and had been turned down all day long.
And then they saw us as they were driving down Fraser Highway. They quickly parked their car and hopped out for a hug.
A friend of ours recently lost his wife. I think that most of us have suffered this kind of grief at some time in our lives. We can all imagine the pain and loneliness that overwhelms. Death can be simply and completely dark. I think that is why it hurts so much…we are not meant for it.
But what I want to talk of is the light in this time of darkness. I witnessed so many different people coming around our friend. There was the news agent who gave him a card the morning they learned of her passing, the dinners that were dropped off or lunches that were paid for to make sure he was eating. The most beautiful thing was the people who came to the funeral who had not even met his wife but who knew him from around town. They came to help, to let him know by their caring that he was not alone…a special kind of light to look for in the darkness.
Editor: A friend of mine was telling me about how she and her husband have enjoyed connecting with Ross, an elderly gentleman whom she met at You’ve Gotta Have Friends.
Ross’s wife passed away many years ago and he recently sold his small acreage and now shares a home with his son in town.
Sadly, he also recently lost his only granddaughter.
My friend and her husband live in the country and have invited Ross out to the farm where they raise chickens and have a large garden.
They have benefited from his farming/gardening knowledge and love listening to his life stories and jokes whenever they are together.
My friends invited Ross to ride in their antique sports car in the Langley Christmas Parade and, in turn, he invited them to see his son’s huge outdoor Christmas light display.
It is wonderful to see how a chance meeting can develop into such a mutually enjoyable relationship spanning the decades.
With a little curiosity and the desire to learn more about others, this young couple has embraced the wisdom and generosity of an elder, with open hearts and appreciation.
Editor: Outside McBurney Coffee House, I came upon some friends who were in a hot debate about doctors.
It took me a minute to realize that one of my friends had blueish lips and was super cold.
Everyone was trying to convince her to go to a clinic. It was clear she was super reluctant to go, but equally clear that she really needed to get checked out.
What was so cool was that Debbie (another friend) abandoned all her plans for the next couple of hours and took her by the arm and said reassuringly, “Come on we’re going to the clinic.”
It turns out she was, in fact, OK, but the reassurance her friend brought to her by being by her side made all the difference in the world.
Editor: My friend Penny is one of the most unassuming and generous people I know. As a woman who loves to cook, garden and generally nurture things she often appears bearing home-baked goodies (some gluten-free for those who require it), preserves, potpourri bath salts, and so many other thoughtful and lovingly prepared expressions of her caring spirit.
At a recent morning meeting, four of us were in the office when Penny arrived with a homemade hot breakfast for us all.
How unexpected but totally welcome. It got our minds in gear and we felt totally cared for.
As you can imagine, I could recount many stories of Penny’s generosity and kindness but I think what sticks with me is that she listens and more importantly “hears” the underlying currents in people’s lives.
She truly is an angel gently weaving a unifying and kind web of connection with everyone she touches.