I had three conversations last week with people that left me wondering... did they?
The first was at dinner at a restaurant called Mangia Mangia in Downtown Kalamazoo. I was enjoying some vegetable-type dish and some rustic bread to soak up the sauce while playing "Words with Friends" on my phone. At the table next to me were three women who were enjoying some appetizers and drinks before heading out to a movie.
So I wonder... did they end up going? Did they enjoy it?
The second was in my taxi-cab on the way to the airport. I've never had a friendly cab driver, so when the fellow who picked me up was nice I took the opportunity to strike up a conversation. In the course of that conversation, I found out that he used to work for the railroad repairing and testing the rails to ensure they were safe for trains to travel on. The problem was that it took him away from his son, so he left that line of work and somehow ended up driving taxi cabs. He has two 2-year degrees - one in culinary arts and one in welding. He'd like to be using his welding degree, but the one job he's been able to find posted did not pay what the degree is worth and was for a company that clearly did not take pride in their product.
So I wonder - did he end up checking out that company for welding jobs? If he did, will it work out?
The last one was while I was waiting for my connecting flight back to Boston at O'Hare in Chicago. Across from me sat a woman and her son - probably about the same age as my mom and me - engaged in conversation. At one point she stopped and asked me if I'd ever been to Boston, to which I replied that I grew up in the area just about 30 minutes north. She asked what the best place to get seafood was, where the "Cheers bar" was, and what they should do with only 3 days in the city - they had never been.
So as I walked down the jetway I wondered - did they find "good seafood"? Did they enjoy the Boston that I love so much?
I don't know the answers to these questions, but I am grateful for the fact that I was given the opportunity to reach out to people. Maybe the tips I gave the people traveling to Florida or Boston were helpful in finding a good place to eat or hang out, and maybe the taxi driver reached out to the company I told him about and he'll be able to get work welding like he wants to do. Maybe I made a difference, maybe I didn't, who knows.
What I do know is that in talking to people like that, it's a small way that I can spread some love and kindness in the world. Don't be shy - next time you're out in the world by yourself, chat with the person in line behind you, offer to hold a door for a person or carry their groceries, talk to the person next to you in the doctor's office or restaurant waiting area.
You never know whose life you'll touch.