Strive To Do The Best With The Day You Have

That's exactly how you change the world.

For my very first blog post, I wanted to share a positive experience that happened to me recently at my local Panera.  I was not expecting to touch the heart and soul of two strangers that day.

Mother and daughter are sitting at the next table having lunch, with no other customers around us nearby. I noticed the teenage daughter in tears and the mother visibly upset for reasons unknown. Hesitating, when the mother went to pick up the lunch, I asked the teen if there was anything I could do to help her feel better.  She was reluctant to share anything.  So when the mom returned and my lunch still wasn't ready, my mind raced as I knew I had to think of something in common between us.

I gently asked the teen if she was familiar with Rachel Platten's "Fight Song" which gives the listener a measure of confidence and inner strength. She said she adored the song and I was delighted to have then found this common bond! I promised to let my cousin Rachel know that one of her millions of adoring fans inspired me and gave both of us the confidence we needed to foster an expression of love and empathy towards those who needed it the most.  I felt Rachel's love at that moment too!

I begin to share with the teen and her mom some of my own insights about love and forgiveness along with some stories about reacting to our challenges in life that determines our attitude. The mom recognized me as a member of her gym. I responded that I am not going to have the body of Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I was at least able to get out of a wheelchair (after 7 years) and learned to walk. It's our perspective that enables us to be the best we can be! They were listening with intense interest and agreement and I noticed the daughter was feeling much better, laughing between her dried-up tears. Before they left Panera, as I was still eating, the mom and daughter both came over to shake my hand and thank me as they left the cafe with unexpected smiles on their faces.

Sometimes we are the angels in assisting others who are having a sad day and are in need of some optimism and laughter. That's what we should do as a society, collectively uplifting all of us together. You just never know the profound rippling effects your kindness can have on someone's day, week, and life. Sharing our stories in a time of emotional need can work miracles to make our world a happier place!

I am humbled that the mom and teen unexpectedly came into my life when they did. I didn't even get their names.

Paul Wichansky