Last night, my “baby” sister Kim (she’s 27 but younger than me!) had her first baby, a handsome little boy. He came into the world healthy, weighing in at 8 pounds, 9 ounces. Kim and her husband, Lance, have not yet decided on a name for him, but he’s magnificent either way.
I texted one of my brothers, who lives out of state, to tell him the great news. Unbeknownst to me his number changed and had been reassigned to someone else. I had inadvertently sent my text message to a total stranger! Here’s how the exchange went:
Me: “Hey, bro! Kimber had the baby! 8lbs 9oz…”
The response: “U must have the wrong number. Don’t know a kimber. Sorry bout that. But congrats”
Me (embarrassed and a little confused): “Sorry!”
At this point, you might assume the conversation ended. And for all intents and purposes it should have. But after a slight delay, and a bit of surprise on my end, here was the next text to come to my phone:
“Np. Congrats on the baby”
For some reason, that response struck chord with me. Not sure why, but it felt like genuine congratulations coming from the stranger on the other end of the line. It wasn’t so much what he or she said, but how the message was received.
I went on to explain my confusion, how I assumed he or she had the former cell number of my brother, and that we were celebrating the birth of our sister’s first baby. Rather than responding with “buzz off” or nothing at all, the final response was:
Now, I tell you this story because often in life, we overlook or underestimate the impact we have on others. We rarely consider the influence our words, or even something as simple as a brief response, can have on another person.
Too often in our busy lives we lose sight of just how important a simple gesture like holding the door open for someone, or saying “thank you”, or a pleasant smile can alter the other person’s day.
My electronic pen pal probably never will know how he or she lifted my already-high spirits. Or how by simply responding to let me know I had the wrong number made it possible to share the beautiful news of our family joy with my brother. It was, after all, Monday night; there was a football game on and other things far more important than responding to an errant text message.
But not to my mysterious pen pal.
He or she took the time to respond. Took the time to have a simple, seemingly unimportant conversation with me. And perhaps as you read this, you may think, “big deal!”. But to me it IS a big deal. Because I appreciate how hectic the pace of life can be, and how the seemingly never-ending gush of emails and text messages can intrude at times when you just want to relax and unplug.
I also appreciate how a simple ‘congrats’ on the other end of a wayward text message can feel pretty good.
Thank you, whoever you are. I appreciate your simple gesture of kindness.
And welcome to the world, my handsome little nephew!