The world seems a toxic, horrid place to live. Countries at war. Political unrest. People tearing people down. The suicide rate has sky rocketed and more and more people out of work. What makes us live on? What makes us carry on?

Humanity. Worth. Value. A simple act of kindness can change a life…

As I worked busily in my office in late 2012, I was informed that my Security Officer had showed up late for work, again for the 3rd time that month. While it was rather unusual for him to be late, my first thought was to give him a written warning. We were counting on him to be on time to open the office building at 6am for the tenants. My emotions were running high because we had let down a few of our tenants. I asked Carlos to come to my office.

My instinct was to be a little stern. As he walked into my office, I saw a look in his eye. The look of shame and some sadness. Rather than get upset, I asked him if he needed help. He held back his tears with all his Salvadorian pride and said he did need my help. He went on to tell me he had not been feeling well and had pains in his stomach. He knew something was more than wrong, but he couldn’t make it to the Doctor as it was his shift. By lunch that day, we had his shift covered and he was at the doctor. I never gave him a warning, but rather gave him help.

The prognosis from the doctor was not good, he ended up having stage 4 colon cancer and sadly passed away a few months later. He was survived by 2 young children and his beautiful wife and no other family in the U.S. As the sole provider for the family, she was left with very little.

The owner of our Property Management company paid for the memorial service and all the tenants pitched in and we paid her rent for a year and helped her with basic life necessities. I had sadness for the his young family left behind, but my heart was filled with a knowingness that we, as humans came together in a time of a family’s darkest hour and helped. His wife ended up being able to get a nice job, kids were able to stay in school and she felt she was part of our family.

The story is still told today.

We never know what another may be going through and rather than react, have patience and kindness. Keep your heart and your mind open.

Humanity and kindness, it’s all around. You just have to open your eyes.