Sometimes people don't even say thank you when you hold open the door, but usually they will. According to her upbringing, this lady thanked me as she passed through.
Inside the building, I caught up with my children, while the elderly lady shuffled along. Before long I heard her behind us: "Hey!"
"Hey!" she repeated again and again. "Hey you!"
I usually hesitate before turning to such a generic call, not wanting to be embarrassed by turning to a call that is not for me. When I finally did turn around, I found the lady to be looking at me and holding out a little piece of card stock, cut and suspended on a ribbon, and stamped with thank you - a gift, she said, for someone who did something nice for her.
I wondered if she carries a pile of these everywhere she roams, just in case someone treats her with kindness. It was such a small gesture, but it meant something to me. After all, I had extended a small gesture to her first.
The lesson in all of this is that the small stuff matters. We often try to think of epic events to positively affect our world, when we really only need to enact what we know to be right. Friends, pay attention to your surroundings, and take care of others. It costs nothing to hold open a door, and yet it makes an immense effect on the people around us.