“Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.”–Mother Teresa

By Pamela Kleibrink Thompson

Driving home on 9/11, 2006, I was thinking about how a group of terrorists changed so many lives five years before. I was thinking about how lucky I was. I stopped at a traffic light. As I waited for the light to change, I watched a police truck come down the off-ramp and turn in front of me, siren wailing and lights flashing. I had just enough time to think, “That’s odd, the siren should be receding, not approaching,” when a car hit me from behind. The car that hit me kept going for a short distance, scraping the driver’s side of my car and then stopped, wedged against my vehicle.

The fleeing suspect emerged from his car and ran. Police officers leaped from their vehicles to chase after the man. I realized that I better get out of my car because it might catch fire. Because I couldn’t open the driver’s door, I struggled across the passenger seat and opened that door to get out onto the curb. I thought, how lucky I am, that I can still walk, and I am still alive. A woman pulled over and persuaded me to get into her car as the fleeing suspect was not yet apprehended. She offered me the use of her cell phone. Her calm demeanor kept me calm.

My car, which I owned since it was new (a 1987 Mazda 323) was totaled, but I was not. For that, I am grateful. And it put a new light on 9/11. I am still lucky.

It reminded me that we cannot waste time. Life is precious. We must seize the day and make the day what we want it to be. At any moment, your life could change. Work on changing it for the better, and you’ll change your world.

Don’t put off your dreams. Decide what is important to you and focus your energies on those people and activities that bring you joy. Figure out what you need to accomplish your goals. Start working on those long-held dreams and make them a reality.

We all need people to help us in times of need, and we should not fear asking for aid when we need help. I have always been reluctant to ask favors from friends or relatives or neighbors. But when they found out about my accident, many volunteered the names of their favorite doctors. Some drove me to meetings. I could not turn my head to check for blind spots, as my neck was too stiff. I can turn my head now. I am grateful that I can drive now. I’m glad that I am alive to savor one more day and to share in this gift of life. I’m grateful that I am alive. Now I have an attitude of gratitude.

October 5 is National Do Something Nice Day. I encourage everyone to be kind to strangers and friends alike. I want to thank the woman who pulled over for a stranger, offering aid. I hope that if I have an opportunity to do the same for someone else, that I will be as helpful and kind.

Think about those who have helped you this past year and throughout your life. Maybe it’s an employee. It doesn’t cost anything to give an uplifting, unexpected compliment, or a simple thank you. Perhaps it’s a neighbor, a co-worker, or a teacher. Be sure they know you appreciate what they do for you. Send a thank-you note or email. It could make someone’s day.

Maybe a relative or friend just needs someone to listen. Lend an ear. And don’t be afraid to help others less fortunate. Sometimes just a smile or a word of encouragement can give someone a big boost. It doesn’t take much to make someone’s life better. And it could be your own.

It wouldn’t take much for every day to be a Do Something Nice Day. It’s up to you.

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.”–Mother Teresa

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a creative career coach helping her clients transform their lives and work experiences. You can reach her at staff@smartwomensmartmoney.com.