People are nice, and I have proof.
I took advantage of this last, long weekend (created by me taking off work on Friday and Monday) to travel to Michigan to see my family. My modus operandi is to break up the 6-8 hour trip by stopping at McDonalds for beverages every 2 hours, and at rest areas for beverage relief on the off hours.
My bladder recommended a stop at the rest area in Michigan City, Indiana. After taking care of bizness, I was washing my hands and examining my pasty, road-trip-rumpled self in the mirror when a dash of color in the otherwise bland bathroom caught my eye.
There was a vase of bright, pink wildflowers on the ledge above the sinks.
Apparently one of the cleaning ladies at this institutional way station thought that a touch of pretty might brighten the moment for road-weary travelers. She was so right. By going above and beyond the call of duty, she made us all feel welcome.
What really struck me, however, was the response to this simple, little bit of grace.
Someone had taken the time to write a thank you note to the anonymous cleaning lady. Another traveler, seeing the first note, added her own. A mini-wave of notes was started and now there were about a dozen arranged around the vase.
Many notes described the writer’s journey. Some thanked the cleaning lady. Yet another complimented the cleanliness of the bathroom. Many offered wishes for safe trips to their fellow travelers. Those without paper added a line to someone else’s note. This “Kilroy peed here” exchange had been going on about a week. The cleaning lady had obviously been inspired to keep up the practice because the flower arrangement was fresh.
I thought about 2-dozen strangers, digging in their purses to find a scrap of notepaper, the back of a bank envelope or old receipt, and something with which to write. We all wanted to join in this spontaneous bit of fellowship with total strangers.
My note is the farthest on the right in the photo. What did I say? To find out, you’ll have to take a detour to Michigan City, Indiana. Once there, be sure to take the time to stop and smell the flowers… in the ladies rest room.