By now, most people have heard of spontaneous, thoughtful gestures referred to as random acts of kindness. They can be simple things like leaving a note on someone’s desk to brighten their day, or grander gestures like paying for someone’s food order in a drive-thru line. Usually they occur without fanfare or credit to the person making the gesture, and that’s the point: The practice becomes second nature.
During National Hospital Week, I was lucky to be around two people whose acts of kindness seemed natural and automatic as they went about their work. Here are their stories:
If you work in the 1329 Building, then you’ve probably met Gale Baker, a UF Health Shands Food and Nutrition Services assistant. She often works the register in the café and serves meals. She always makes me smile with her bubbly personality and personalized service. During National Hospital Week, she picked up a National Hospital Week handout and told me about the upcoming events I might like to attend. Now, Ms. Gale didn’t know that I work on the team that put the flyer together and helped organize the week’s festivities. She was just acting authentically as an unofficial ambassador, and her enthusiasm was contagious. This might seem simple, but as a communicator who has felt the pressure to ‘get the word out’ and engage people in our events, her small gesture made my day.
I also met Shea Denson, a cook with Food and Nutrition Services, when we were handing out meals during the evening shift. I was immediately drawn to her sense of humor and big smile. She made the evening fun and joked with employees as they picked up their dinners at the UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital. But Shea didn’t stop there. When she helped box up meals for those who couldn’t make it off the floor or out of the E.R., she wrote notes on the lids of the food containers. She added simple words, notes or drawings to bring happiness to people she wouldn’t see in person and that she didn’t even know. She hadn’t been asked to do that. I know that if I had been one of the lucky ones to get one of these to-go box messages, I would have smiled and taken a moment to appreciate that simple but powerful token of warmth.
I hope you take the time to see the kindness around us and, more importantly, take time to do something for a colleague, a friend, a loved one or a complete stranger. It makes a difference.
I think Aesop said it best, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
Have a great summer and thanks for reading News+Notes.