The Ellen Show, A Painter, and A Life Changing Moment

As a motivational speaker and health and wellness expert, one of the main drivers in my life is to inspire and help others to live a healthier and happier life.  And, I feel grateful that I have the opportunity to do that…

But, last Monday, I pulled up The Ellen Show on my DVR and watched Ellen give a car to a single mom whose child had a heart transplant and had to drive 500 miles a week for his care.  I found myself standing 3 feet from the television, cheering on and jumping up and down as Ellen gave the family the new car.  I was crying tears of joy and said outloud, ‘God, I want to have that impact!  Please provide me the opportunity to help people with the type of impact that Ellen does! I don’t have to be as rich or famous, I just want to be able to do kind acts that are life changing for others!’

The very next day, I was walking my dogs and saw a familiar painter staining the doors of our condominiums.  This ‘door staining project’ was something he had been working on and the previous week he had stained my front door.   I had made special arrangements for the time he was to be there so I could be there too – I have dogs and didn’t want anyone going in my house without me being there to ensure the dogs were safe.  I received a call that day that the police had been sent as someone had entered my house. I was at my studio and had to cancel the rest of my yoga practice and rushed home, worried.  The whole way home, I had grown my frustration – the police were at my house, my door had been opened and who knows what happened.  I assumed the painter had gone in without my permission at a time I had not approved.

I arrived, ready to have a discussion with the person who opened my door… when I arrived, I found him working on the door next to mine.  I walked over and said hello.  He turned around and smiled and said, “I am so sorry! I didn’t mean to set off your alarm! No one told me I wasn’t supposed to go in”.  The kindness in his voice and the way he handled the situation was so inspiring.  I immediately forgot any form of frustration I may have had and smiled and walked away, saying how kind he was.

Fast forward to the present moment where I was walking my dogs… I saw the painter, who’s name is David, staining a neighbor’s door.  I said hello, made some small talk and asked if he had children and if they enjoyed Halloween that weekend.  He smiled, and said he had one son, who is 4.  He has cerebral palsy so he is confined to a wheelchair so he had to be creative with his costume, but he dressed him up as a pumpkin.  I asked him more about his son, who is also named David.  He said, ‘I am so lucky… I am able to work 3 jobs as a painter and my boss gives me the flexibility to leave at 3pm so I can take David to his doctor’s appointments.  I start very early but am able to work a full day and still take care of David.  As a single dad, I feel so blessed.’

I smiled and thanked him for sharing and I went inside to my house.  I was immediately compelled to do something nice for this man.  Many others would have complained – that they work 3 jobs, are a single parent and have a lot of responsibility.  But David actually said he was LUCKY and GRATEFUL to have the opportunity to work 3 jobs and start early so he can still take care of his son.  Wow.  Perspective.  I quickly pulled up my bank account ledger/budget to see how much extra I had budgeted this month for going out to dinner, events etc for myself.  I took that amount and went to the store and had a shopping spree for David.  I bought as much as I could – groceries, blankets, household items etc.

I came back to my house and he was packing up, so I called him over and told him that these gifts were not ‘hand outs’… but that he inspired me, and I wanted to thank him for inspiring my life. I hoped they would help make this week a little easier for him.  Because I believe that is what our purpose is all about.  Helping eachother out.  Making the journey better, easier – or just reminding people that the world is a good place, with good people. He had tears in his eyes and said, ‘No one has done something like this for me before…’  He humbly took the gifts.

I felt so happy, and if this was where my story ended, I would have been fulfilled – my cup running over with joy.  I felt that taste of what I had asked for on Monday – the opportunity to impact others in big ways.

But several days later, on Friday, there was a knock at my door.  I opened it to see the cutest little boy, in a wheelchair, smiling at me.  David, the painter said, “This is David, and he brought you a thank you gift”.  They had brought me a gift bag of items, one being a book with the title, ‘Everyday Angels’.

The outside of the greeting card he gave me said, ‘Kindness Colors The World’ and he wrote on the inside: ‘Your kind gesture will stick with me for the rest of my life… and on into Heaven.  May God Bless you Day In and Day Out.’

I was brought to tears.  I asked if they had time to take a walk… and we walked around my neighborhood. I asked David questions about his life and how he takes care of Little David.  He told me next week, Little David gets braces for his legs.  He has stage 4 Cerebral Palsy, and so there is a chance with intensive therapy, he will walk one day.

As we came to a close of our walk, I hugged Little David over and over again.  He had a permanent smile on his face.  His dad told me again, that no one had been that kind to him and it meant more than he knew how to say.  It was life changing.  I smiled and told him that him bringing David over was life changing for me.

It’s funny.  I thought I had done something that could have a positive impact on someone else- just like I committed to and asked
for the opportunity to do while watching The Ellen Show.  However, the gift I received back – in seeing a little boy smile, in hearing the strength of a father who feels, ‘lucky’ to work 3 jobs… well – those were life changing moments for me.

The title of this is ‘The Ellen Show, The Painter and a Life Changing Moment.  That Life Change wasn’t the impact I was able to make. It was the change I felt in learning from the Davids.  They changed my life for the better, and I will be forever grateful.

Thank you Ellen… because you showed me that I can find impact in an everyday situation.  Thank you for inspiring us all to be better people.  Thank you God – for the many blessings in my life and for introducing me to the Davids.  I think about if I would have let that one moment, where I was frustrated the prior week, get the best of me, I would have missed out on meeting and getting to know a wonderful father and son, and I would have taken away from the positive energy in the world.  And don’t we all do that at times?  We react.  In traffic.  When we are having a bad day.  When something goes wrong.  Think about how much easier it is to forget about kindness and just react.  I resolved last week to focus on kindness – ESPECIALLY when I am having a tough moment or day.  That is when it is the most important!

I hesitated to write this blog because if you read it one way, I sound like I am giving myself a pat on the back for doing something good.  And if you read it that way, I ask you to reconsider your interpretation.  This blog is not about me.  This blog is about how one kind act can inspire another, and each of us can impact eachother, if we just look for our opportunity.  Ellen inspired me.  Maybe I and David can inspire you to do something more than you would have today – to help others for the better.  In addition, this is not meant to be a sad story about the Davids.  While I believe they live a tough life, they are tough cookies and they are grateful and they are living powerfully.  When I asked Big David where he got his strength, he said, “I haven’t always had it… this little guy taught me to be a better person”.
David truly believes they are fortune, blessed and lucky in life.  Life isn’t about a smooth path – it’s about being courageous and grateful along the rocky road.

Don’t get me wrong – impact comes in every shape and size.  Just because we all can’t impact the world by giving away cars and checks for a lot of money, doesn’t mean we can’t have our impact.  WE MUST HAVE OUR IMPACT.   I think it is our purpose to find all the ways we can help each other with the means we have.  Sometimes that may just be a smile to stranger.  Sometimes, that may mean reserving frustration and being kind anyways.  Sometimes, that may mean donating your time.  Perhaps donating your money.  Or even, giving away a car.  If we each used the gifts, talents and opportunities we have in our lives to help each other, we truly would change the world.  Here’s to changing the world, one kind act at a time.

Julie Wilkes