A few months ago, I found myself stuck at South Station in Boston waiting for a train to Providence. My train was late. South Station was packed with people deeply engaged on their phones and highly irritated with one another and the lack of space. Two people barked at each other about a line cut at the McDonald’s counter that might or might not have been intentional. A very pregnant woman in need of a seat, stood waiting for her train. No mercy would be found here!

Upon relocating to the train platform to wait for the posting of my track number – I noticed an older gentleman frequently looking at the information board. As the minutes ticked by, his body language became tense and worrisome. Before I could react – a man wearing a pink hoodie spoke up. The older gentleman explained he was a slow walker and if his track number wasn’t posted soon; he couldn’t walk fast enough to reach his train on time.

Pink hoodie guy smiled – they were on the same train. Pink hoodie guy offered to carry the gentleman’s bags and to walk together to make sure they both boarded the train without issues. The gentleman instantly let out a sigh and smiled. He truly appreciated having a walking buddy to the train.

When their track number was posted, the two began their journey to the train. Both seemed content with concentrating on walking to the train while occasionally chatting. The two boarded the train sitting across from each other in aisle seats. As their train pulled away, the gentleman and pink hoodie guy were smiling and engaged in a conversation.

We’ve all had moments where the power of a stranger’s kind words or actions de-escalated a meltdown. Opening a door for someone whose hands are full, providing encouragement to a tired mom with a cranky toddler, or being a walking buddy are simple and genuine. These simple acts literally change the recipient’s day.

Each of us has the option to either disconnect or be a willing participant in our surroundings. No matter who you are or where you are, let’s try to make an effort this week to carry out a simple act of kindness. You never know who you could meet…