The kindness of strangers

Many years go, my middle son Mac won a silver at the Winnipeg music festival, playing one of the most beautiful piano compositions I’d ever heard. It was written by a local artist, a woman moved to compose it following the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

She must have been sad when she wrote it. It is a beautiful, haunting song.

I remember hunting her down (annoying journalist that I am) so I could send her an email to thank her for writing it. I just wanted her to know how much the piece moved me, and all who heard it. I never expected a reply.

But I got one.

She told me my email had arrived on a bad day, a bad week, a not-very good month. She told me how much a note like that meant, coming out of the blue from a stranger. A gift. An unexpected hug. A reason to keep working.

I got one of those myself this week, in the middle of a bad day, a bad week, a not-very-good month. It came from a stranger in Toronto, an award-winning writer who also records book for the blind with the CNIB.

She is currently recording Runaway Wives, and decided to drop me a line via this website to say she is enjoying it, and likes the way it was written. It was a small thing and a very big thing, and I wrote her back to thank her — not just for letting me know about the talking book (yay!) but for her kind words and impeccable timing.

It reminded me of that exchange with the Manitoba composer.

The negativity in this world confounds me at times. So many walking wounded out there, lashing out. So much random anger, cynicism, backbiting.

Reaching out to say something nice to someone can mean so much. It’s the opposite of trolling in this age of rage.

We may not know why we do it. But we are somehow compelled to do so.

Perhaps we all know, deep inside, how much we are warmed by the kindness of strangers.



[“Speak ill of no man, but speak all the good you know of everybody.”IMG_1007 –Ben Franklin]

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