Beth Guest is a KIND person. She just IS. She is one of those people who even have a kind SMILE. See??
|Beth and her main squeeze Tony. Doesn't she have a KIND SMILE?|
So recently I asked her if she would be willing to tell me about a kindness she had given, received, or seen. To be honest, I expected her to tell me about some super kind thing that she had done. But instead she surprised me with this utterly delightful, perfectly persevered in her memory kindness from her youth:
“This is of a story of a kindness that was shown to me in my childhood.
When I was in 3rd grade, I took a class trip to the Kellogg factory. We boarded a big Greyhound bus and headed off to Kalamazoo Michigan, thrilled by the prospect of taste testing all that sugar cereal! The trip started out well, but I am prone to car sickness, and the jostling of the bus, mixed with the diesel fumes and the smell of the on board bathroom proved lethal to my stomach. I found myself feeling sick.
Assigned to the seat next to me was a girl
named Beth Patterson. Beth Patterson was a well-dressed, preppy girl, with
long, perfectly straight, "Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific" kind of
hair. She was the kind of girl who sported barrettes on either side of her
head, you know, the fancy ones with ribbons that hung down. She was the type
that looked effortlessly lovely and stylish all the time.
|Beth, circa 1978-ish (note: this is OUR Beth, the Beth telling the story, not Beth Patterson. Oh this is getting confusing...)|
On the day of our class trip, Beth was dressed in a white turtleneck topped with a dark blue monogrammed sweater and tailored khaki slacks. To be honest, I was always jealous of her monogrammed sweaters, because I thought it must take so much care, foresight and money to get clothes inscribed with your own personal initials. It was so luxurious! I didn't know her well, but she had always been a pleasant girl.
|This is the type of monogrammed sweater that my lovely seatmate had. |
(Editor's note: this is obviously not Beth Patterson's ACTUAL monogrammed sweater.
Why would she wear a sweater with someone else's initials? :) )
I tried to hide the fact that I was getting sick on that bus, but she noticed I was turning green. She asked me if I was ok, and I told her that I thought I was going to barf. I was starting to panic and I felt my stomach churn. I looked around for something to hurl in. I was sitting next to a window, but it didn't open, and there was nothing around me but my own lap. I knew I could never make it to the bathroom in the back of the bus. I was mortified and looked at my monogrammed seatmate in a panic.
Then Beth Patterson did something that I will never forget. She performed an act of kindness and mercy that will go down as one of the kindest acts ever shown to me.
As she saw me begin to wretch into my lap, she pulled off that monogrammed sweater and cupped it in her hands like a bowl, and said "Here, use this." My stunned eyes met her concerned face and she nodded. And so I did - I lost my cookies into that gorgeous monogrammed sweater.”
Isn’t that a KIND act?? That Beth Patterson was willing to sacrifice her beautiful sweater for her seatmate.
Really, what I love most about this story is Beth Guest’s DETAILED MEMORY of the experience. Not only does she remember the sweater, but she remembers the pants, the barrettes, the whole ball of wax!! J I think that just proves how important KINDNESS is – that experience was over 30 years ago and she remembers that kindness like as yesterday.
Beth Guest and I both wish we could find Beth Patterson to see whatever became of her. We know she married and at one point owned an RV, but not sure of much else. If anyone out there reading this happens to know Beth Patterson, former monogrammed sweater wearer who went to 3rd grade at Waterford Village Elementary School in Waterford, Michigan, please comment here. Also, tell her I need to contact her to make her an official KINDNESS ACTIVIST!!
Please take a moment to tell me about a kindness you have given, received, or seen. You don’t have to go into detail, just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me about it briefly. And make sure to “like” Kindness Activist on Facebook so you can read about more KINDNESS ACTIVISTS!