10 Insanely Nice Things You Can Say to Anybody
Columnist Leigh Newman weighs in on the tiny but enormously kind things you can say that may change a person's day—and (sometimes) even their way of looking at themselves.
"I saw what you did, and please don't think I'm a nut case, but it restored my faith in the human race."
Oh, the things people do! The woman who climbs up the two flights of stairs at the train station, then climbs back down them to help an old man with his suitcase. The strange little man who walks around downtown slipping packages of cookies into the bags of the sleeping homeless people. The guy who picks up the public trash can on the corner that fell over. Everybody walking by notices these tiny kindnesses. So few will take the socially risky, even embarrassing step of approaching the complete stranger who's done them and thanking him or her for what they're really doing—helping us remember that, despite the constant headlines, human beings don't just invent Ponzi schemes and burn up the ozone. They also offer to share their umbrellas with strangers during pouring thunderstorms, even if it means their backpack will be a little wet.
Photo: Yale Center for British Art, Yale Art Gallery Collection, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. Richardson Dilworth, B.A. 1938