The Simple Power of Friendship

When I came home from my early morning 3-mile walk today to get ready for work, my husband called me into the dining room where he sat with his coffee and laptop.  “Someone posted a great story on Facebook that I think you will enjoy,” he said. 

Feeling a little pressured by deadlines awaiting me in my home office, I replied, “Can you please just send it to me and I’ll read it later?”

“Sure,” he responded.  “I’m going to share it on Facebook so you can find it there when you have time.”

Toastmasters_2011I showered and made it to my desk by 8 AM, diving into the two projects that need to be done by day’s end.  With so many tasks on my “to do” list, I decided not to go to a party I planned to attend this afternoon, a birthday celebration for a woman from my Toastmasters group whom I don’t know too well, but who is turning 87 and is now unable to leave her home to come to our meetings. With all the people in our group who have known her for many years, I knew my absence wouldn’t be noticed.  I’ve been traveling a lot the past two months and I need time to catch up on the detail work that piles up when I’m away.

An hour later I went to the kitchen to refill my coffee cup.  My husband was there getting ready to leave for work.  He caught my eye and asked, “Did you read the post I shared?”

“No, I haven’t had the time yet!” I snapped.  “I’m super busy.” 

“OK, no hurry,” he replied calmly, adding, “I’m gonna leave now. Have fun at the party this afternoon.” 

“I’m not going.  Too much to do,” I said.

“Wow, that’s too bad.  I think you should reconsider that,” he said.  “Those Toastmasters are your friends now.”

“I just don’t have time today,” I pushed back.  And he kissed me on the cheek and said, “See you later. Be sure to read that post I told you about.”

“Bye,” I said, thinking He hasn’t got a clue about how much stress I’m under right now. I was feeling a bit exasperated as I walked back to my office cradling my Beauty and the Beast coffee mug in my hands.  Sitting down at my desk again, I could see my husband getting into his truck.  He waved and gave me the three-finger “I LOVE YOU” sign.  Waving back, I felt more like a beast than a beauty.

Beauty Beast mugI took a deep breath and decided to just go ahead and open that post he wanted me to read.  It couldn’t take that long, right? 

I read the inspirational piece titled This is Kyle, and it brought tears to my eyes.  It’s a story of compassion that made me think of the experiences I had late last year that I wrote about in my post, …An Angel in a Moment.  The essence of the “Kyle” message was captured in a few sentences:   “I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. ..Never underestimate the power of your actions.  With one small gesture, you can change a person’s life.”

I’m sentimental, but I’m also a Capricorn realist, so the first thing I did was not to call my husband and tell him I liked the post, but instead to go directly to Snopes to see if it was real.  Turns out, the story is an urban legend.  The original version of it was quite different and appeared in the 1993 bestseller, Chicken Soup for the Soul.

I called my husband to tell him I had just read the post and to share the urban legend information from Snopes.  His simple response surprised me, “So what if it’s not true. How can we change a person’s life if we DO step forward like that?  Think about it.” 

I thought about it. I’m going to join my friends at the party for our dear Margie Brown today, after all. 

Shannon Ingram
Shannon is a co-founder of An expert in the field of marketing to Boomers, seniors and family caregivers, she is the author of "The Heart Way - A Journey from Corporate to Care" about her experience of caring for her elderly parents. She is Vice President of Industry Marketing for and an active supporter of UCI MIND, the University of California Irvine's Institute for Memory Impairment and Neurological Disorders. She considers her most important title to be "Granny Shanny" and enjoys spending as much time as possible with her two grandchildren.

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