"I could tell she’d been crying,” said 32-year-old Applebee’s waiter Kasey Simmons. “I don’t like anyone to have a crappy day.”
These thoughts were in the forefront of Simmons’ mind as he witnessed Mrs. Sullivan put her items on the checkout conveyor. To most, she would have seemed like any other customer in line that day at the Kroger in Little Elm, Texas.."The simplest displays of love and support can help pull the grieving from the darkest depths of sadness."
“As soon as she took out her credit card, I said ‘I got it.’” Simmons paid for Mrs. Sullivan’s $17.00 grocery bill, and from a heart of compassion, continued to give even more.
“I wrote down my email address and phone number. I told her, ‘Look, I work at Applebee’s, I usually close, which means I’m there till 2 a.m. If you can’t sleep and want to talk, I’ll buy you a dessert or coffee.’”
On his shift the next evening, Simmons served an unusually small order: a single .37 cent flavored water. Shortly after, the customer left quietly, leaving behind the paid bill and a small note on a napkin:
“On behalf of the Sullivan family, I want to thank you for being the person you are. On one of the most depressing days of the year, (the death of my father, 3 year anniversary) you made my mother’s day wonderful. She has been smiling since you did what you did. Her grocery was only $17.00, and you insisted on paying and told her she was a very beautiful woman.”
And on the bill? An additional $500.00 tip — a gift from the Sullivan family for making such a sorrowful anniversary brighter, and for showing such love to a grieving wife and mother.
Simmons saw the tears in Mrs. Sullivan’s eyes, recognized the grief in her heart, and compassionately acted — himself being no stranger to the pain of loss and the grief that follows. “My daughter died four years ago when she was just 2 months old. I know what it’s like to lose somebody.”
From his own grief, Kasey Simmons learned the transformative power of simple acts of compassion, and from his heart of compassion, helped bring joy to a wife and mother in the midst of great pain.
Learning From this Incredible Story of Compassion
What can we learn from Kasey Simmons’ act of compassion, and how can we apply his example to the grieving and hurting people around us?
A small, simple act can help pull someone from the depths of grief
Grief, especially when faced alone, can become a draining, wearisome place. Without the love and support of others, the pain of grief can become overwhelming, making the days seem like an unconquerable foe.
But even in the midst of what seems like unconquerable grief, the smallest, most simple acts of kindness can remind the grieving that people care for them and that there is future of light, love, and healing.
Listen to your heart’s recognition of pain in others and take action
We all can think of people we regularly see who are in need of compassion, and we remember our heart, in that moment, urging us to lend a hand or an encouraging word.
Though we hear our heart, we often ignore it. We find reasons to ignore the pain we see in others and move on.
Reaching out to the hurting and grieving doesn’t require a large investment of time, money, or energy. Acting upon your heart’s prompting, even in the simplest ways, allows you to bring healing and hope to the lives of the grieving.
Use the lessons learned on your grief journey to bring healing to others
Grief is a natural part of life and a pain we all feel after having lost someone we love so dearly. Grief, though painful, can be a teacher — revealing to us the resilience of our spirit, the depths of our strength, and the fullness of our ability to still give and receive love even during the darkest of times.
We can take these lessons we’ve learned, and use them to aid others who are in the throes of grief. We can help others see their progress, their strength of spirit, and show them that there is hope and healing to be had throughout the journey.