Today I got pho with Anita* and Ollie*. Anita is from El Salvador and speaks wonderful Spanish. When I stay after hours to finish my work, the cleaning staff do an incredible job of making sure everything looks tidy for us the next day. I personally am not a huge fan of cleaning, so to me, what she does is a big deal. I recognize her and the other custodians because they do necessary work that is worthy of appreciation.
One day Anita was tidying up the kitchen. I said thank you in English and realized Spanish may be a better option. We started conversing in her native language and over some time she started sharing some really good food places…OKAY – going through my belly is immediate entry into my heart.
So today I got to have lunch at a place where her and her son frequent often. She looked extra beautiful, not just because she was dressed differently than her normal work attire, but she radiated happiness. Ollie is also very handsome, but especially his soul.
Anita said to me that she told her son there was a chica at work who was very amable. Who didn’t just “Hi, hello, how are you?”, but would stop to chat in Spanish which she really liked.
Hmmm, I’ve been in situations where I have really appreciated when others took the time to get to know me beyond surface level. Personally, that helped me practice being more vulnerable, but more importantly, it encouraged me to thrive.
For me, encouraging kindness and empowerment is extremely important. I am very aware of how these attributes allowed me to be in the position I am in today, and I am always incredibly grateful. It is pretty busy in DC, so one-on-one thank yous for being my friend and being nice is a little tough to swing, but don’t worry, I still practice what others gave me by giving it to others…which I believe they probably appreciate too.
After all, the value of kindness is greater than gold.