Sometimes the only thing more powerful than a deadly virus is a kind word.
My middle sister, Deirdre, was supposed to celebrate her 60th birthday with a girls’ weekend in Las Vegas this past weekend. Our other two sisters, my wife and my brother’s wife were going to join her. They had everything planned. All the lunches and dinners, all the evening activities, even a night at one of those male burlesque shows. But the day before they were all to fly out, they did a group text and because of the coronavirus wisely decided to cancel their trip.
Deirdre then went to work seeing about getting refunds for everybody for the show tickets they had bought. She sent the text below to all the girls:
Posted the tix on Craigslist and even my neighborhood newsletter in case someone has friends/relatives living in Vegas—and I also asked coworkers who live in Vegas—but no takers. Looks like everyone's being very cautious about attending shows these days.
Ticketmaster is just a busy signal and won't even answer their Live Chat or emails. One of the hotel box office people told me that Ticketmaster is not even responding to the hotel venues because they are overwhelmed with calls for cancellations.
When I was speaking to one box office person today I could hear all sorts of anxious chatter of other operators in the background, so I said something like, "Hey I really appreciate your help trying to address these tickets. I know it must be very stressful over there with so many people cancelling and being inundated with calls. So thank you for trying to help, and we understand if it doesn't work out."
You guys, I swear to God, he almost came to tears. He said, "You don't know how much it means to me to hear you say that with kindness in your voice. Over the past few days, I've been cursed at, screamed at, hung up on, called names, and everything else. I'm genuinely trying to help people as much as I can but so much of this depends on the hotels, the shows, Ticketmaster. You’re the first person to take a moment to acknowledge me as a human being, so thank you."
Omigosh, so then I almost came to tears. These are very stressful times. It's a good reminder to me to be kind to everyone I encounter, especially those affected by this pandemic. Stay safe out there. I love you all, Deirdre
My first thought was she didn’t say in her text whether or not the box office person she was speaking to had given her a refund. That’s how selfish, self-centered people—that being me—think. Then I realized that that wasn’t the point. The point was that with a few kind words my sister had made another person feel better.
She didn’t have to be a multimillionaire and buy that person something.
She didn’t have to be a doctor and treat that person.
She didn’t have to be an attorney and give that person legal advice on phone etiquette.
She didn’t have to be a priest or a minister and give that person spiritual advice.
She didn’t have to be an employer and pay that person overtime.
She just had to be a person saying kind words to another person.
One person to another.
In the middle of a swirling storm of unkindness caused by a deadly virus.