Some days after a day of teaching I would say, “It was a so-so day. Sometimes your so-so days may not have been so so-so to someone else.
The other day, Mary and I were in Walmart. I heard, “Mr. Hill, Mr. Hill. I turned to see a lady in a wheelchair with her caregiver pushing her. I didn’t recognize her but as soon as she told me her name. I immediately remembered her.
She started telling me that I had given her the only award that she had ever gotten in school. It was a certificate that I had given to some ninth graders in my art class when they were at the old junior high. “I won the art award. I’m so proud of it.”
She then told me about when she was in my graphic arts class a few years later. She told about printing a coloring book. “I still have it. I’m going to give it to my grandchild.”
Then she reminded me that she didn’t have a date to the prom, and I had announced that anyone who didn’t have a date and wanted a date to come to room 109. She said there were several there and, “I got a date!”
She added that she always read my column in the newspaper. and it always made her laugh. I could tell that she probably had little in her life to laugh about. It made my so-so day.
You don’t have to be a teacher to make a difference in your so-so days. Mary and I often recall a time back before cars talked to you, we were driving to Florida and were somewhere in the southern states, our car overheated, and we were stranded on the side of the road. An old pickup pulled up and a young man got out and said, “Folks call me Outlaw, seems you got a problem.”
Outlaw spent an hour or so working to get our radiator cooled down. In his effort, he got splashed with hot water. He apologized to Mary, “Ma’am, I’m sorry but I gotta take off my shirt, it’s burning a bit.” Outlaw got down in the ditch and got water to fill the radiator and got us on our way. He told us where to go to get it fixed and refused to take any money. “No thank you, it was no problem.”
We drove to the next town and went where he had told us and sure enough, they got the problem fixed. Afterwards we went to a nearby restaurant, and I noticed a car with a state senator license plate. The waitress pointed him out and I went over to a large group of people at his table, and I told my story about Outlaw.
I said, “Sir, you have some wonderful people in your state.” The group talked among themselves, and the senator said, “We think we know who he is, and we’ll pass along your kind words.” I hope they might give Outlaw a certificate, it may be the only one he would ever get. His so-so day will always be remembered by Mary and me.
Don’t ever think your so-so day went unnoticed. You may never know who you inspired or even changed their life. Make every day count. Maybe make that phone call or send a card. It may be just the thing to make their so-so day brighter.