Monday, April 16, 2012
Flowers at the Hospital
One place where I haven't yet been on my kindness journey is to a hospital. That is, until today. By their very nature, hospitals must be filled with lots of people who are hurting and could use cheering up. I figured that flowers from an anonymous stranger might just be the right prescription.
Swinging by Wegmans, as usual, I picked up a colorful bouquet of fresh spring flowers. Don't ask me what kind they were because I honestly don't know! Anyway, I wrote out a note to go with the flowers that said, "An anonymous friend is thinking of you and hoping you're feeling better," and I headed toward our local hospital.
Not being that familiar with hospitals, I wasn't quite sure exactly how I was going to do this. I walked into the main lobby and found a busy reception area. When a woman asked if she could help me, I answered, "yes." Handing her the flowers and note, I explained that I wanted to give them to some patient that she thought could use some cheering up, and that I would leave it to her to determine the best recipient. She said she thought that was "so nice" and turned to show the others at the reception desk. I was gone with little fanfare - in and out in less than 2 minutes.
As with all the anonymous acts, I'll never know who got the flowers or how it impacted them. I hope that my note causes them to wonder which of their friends may have been the anonymous donor and therefore to think kindly about the people who may be in their life.
Another notable thing happened as I was leaving the hospital that's worth mentioning. A woman, who was perhaps a visitor, saw and heard me deliver the flowers. As I walked by her, she half-jokingly asked "where are my flowers?" While I believe this was said mostly in jest, it does reflect an interesting point of view. Her first thought was not about what she could do for others or how she could also deliver flowers for someone. Rather, it was about why she wasn't getting what someone else was. Had I thought of it at the moment, I might have asked her what she could do to make someone else's day. It might have been a fascinating, and possibly impactful, exchange. Unfortunately, it all happened so fast that I didn't think more about it until a few minutes later.
There have been a few instances like that this year where I've been so focused on accomplishing what I set out to do, that I didn't stay present to the situation at hand and as a result, missed out on an opportunity to have a bigger impact. I'll have to work on that.