Sometimes those moments even change lives as I discovered a number of years ago. I was working in my salon one day when a client came in to have her hair styled. I was surprised to see her since it was right in the middle of her five-week period between haircuts. I figured that she must have an important social engagement, so I asked her about her evening plans.
“I don’t have anything special going on,” she told me. “I just want to look and feel good tonight.”
I gave her a great scalp massage, then shampooed and styled her hair. During our 30 minutes together, we joked and laughed. At the end, she smiled radiantly, hugging me goodbye.
A few days later I received a letter from this client and began to realize the enormous potential of Daymaking. My client admitted that she had wanted her hair styled so it would look good for her own funeral. She had planned to commit suicide that evening. But the wonderful time she had during our appointment had given her hope that things could get better. She decided to check herself into the hospital and get professional help. She thanked me for caring, even though I hadn’t known what she was going through.
She wrote, “Thank you for being there without knowing that you were.”
I was stunned. I had spent time with this woman about once a month for three years, yet that day I had no inkling she was so distressed. I was glad to have made such a difference, yet the experience left me with an enormous sense of responsibility. What if I had been upset, distracted, or hurried when she came to see me? That experience made me take stock of myself as a stylist and as a person. How many of the ten clients I saw each day might be in personal crisis? Even if it were only one person a day, I might have no way of knowing who needed some extra attention. I resolved to treat every person I met like I had treated that woman. It might sound like a lot of work, but it wasn’t hard to have fun with my client that day. It was natural and made my day brighter, too.
After that experience, I vowed to give care and attention to everyone I saw. I figured it would make their day a little better, and who knows, it might save a life. I still thank my client for the gift of that letter because it changed my life as much as my kindness changed hers. When you realize the difference you can make for others, whether by spending a light-hearted half-hour together, giving them a smile, or simply holding the door open for them, your whole approach to life shifts. Why have random acts of kindness when we can have intentional acts of good will?