Last week I asked readers to share their stories of the best thank you they had ever received.
As expected, some of the stories were touching, but all demonstrated the power of a simple, often unexpected, show of appreciation.
It’s something that is easy to let slide in this always on, just send and email world, but the stories shared in this post should be a great reminder of the power of the words and acts of thanks.
I probably don’t thank you the readers of this publication enough, but rest assured I know how important your participation in things like this little project are.
I thought I would share five stories we chose from over 100 that were submitted. I hope you enjoy these then – I know we did. (Unfortunately we didn’t specifically ask for contact information, so if you see your story here, please contact us as we have a gift for you.)
My Great Grandfather owned a fruit and vegetable store in a tiny town in Arkansas. Every Wednesday each summer he would close his store down and go to the houses near “the river” where the population was on the bottom end of the poverty scale. He was a brilliant business man and had made something out of nothing, but in this area of the county nothing is what the people had. He accepted payment via money, barter, good faith and a handshake.
Nearly 50 years later after he’d passed away and we had to put my Great-Grandmother in nursing care facility there was a nurse that was particularly amazing when it came to caring for my Great-Grandmother or any patient for that matter. As a family we decided to thank her for her kindness and wonderful care. She took our breath away when she said “No it’s my honor to say thank you..you’re Great Grandfather used to accept the crayola drawn pictures of a 5 year little girl as payment for those fruits and vegetables when that family had nothing. I was that little girl who drew those pictures. So no…thank you!” Amazing how the power of thank you can extend the tests of time…
My “Thank You” came from a family that was grateful for our odor control services for a skunk under a porch. When we arrived onsite it quickly became apparent that this family could not afford our services, but I was overwhelmed with a call to action. We could NOT leave this family with their home smelling so putrid it gave you could stand inside for minutes at a time.
We ended up putting in our equipment at no cost, and two days later the smell was gone.
About a week after we picked up our equipment we received a letter from the family with personal pictures drawn by the children of the family expressing their gratitude. This gratitude touched my heart and reminded me that it’s not always about the dollar but rather serving those in need with the tools and talents we are blessed with.
As an equine veterinarian, the harsh reality is that we can’t save all of our patients despite our best efforts. One of my most memorable patients, “Gracey,” was a foal (baby horse) with a broken leg. She wasn’t a purebred (and therefore not worth anything, in some horse owners’ opinions) and many people would have euthanized her because of the cost and intensity of the care she’d need, but her owners wanted to do everything they could to help her. We put a bone plate on the fractured bone and put her in a full-leg cast, and we spent much of the day helping her get up and down and around. She developed an infection in the leg, so her care became more intensive and expensive. The fracture healed, but the infection spread and caused the bone to be so weak that a different bone broke in the same leg. We were heartbroken, and we decided that the best thing for Gracey was to put her down. A few days later, Gracey’s people came by the clinic to drop off a homemade trophy that said “World’s Best Veterinarian” and a framed picture of Gracey.
That was 11 years ago, and Gracey’s picture still holds a place of honor in my office, despite several job changes. The trophy is on my bookshelf at home.
Our organisation,BB4CK, is fortunate to have thousands of volunteers helping us feed hungry kids. We try to be grateful and express our thanks for the assistance but I was blown away when I received a thank you card from a school teacher who had brought 12 junior high students to our facility for a morning of preparing nutritious lunches for other kids. She thanked me (us) for the powerful experience of making a difference that her students had received and for the generosity we had offered them in allowing them to come and make a difference. We are used to thanking our volunteers and being thanked by our recipient schools but to be thanked for allowing them to participate was amazing and unexpected.
Once a year, my boss sends me a thoughtful handwritten note, sharing with clarity and specificity the reasons why she values my contributions to our team. It’s not sexy, nor is it costly (in hard costs, but the time she puts into it is certainly of high value), but the specificity and clarity with which she writes is something I deeply appreciate.
I am so thankful to know that my supervisor truly knows me, recognizes my work, and puts the time into thanking me with such care and thoughtfulness.