Visit my show at the PSCCU Credit Union, Vashon, Washington May, June 2024 

The Gift of Ordinary Kindness

When readers tell me that they are enjoying my book, it makes my heart sing. If it inspires them to expand their creative adventures, I’m doubly delighted.

Last week, I received an email with the subject “Brava” that brightened my day. The content made me even happier. Not only did the sender like my book, but he took the time to tell me what resonated with him and paralleled his experience. He also shared that I inspired him to experiment with some drawing! 

I couldn’t believe his thoughtfulness in writing such a detailed email.

When I saw his name,  I smiled: Brad Newsham—someone I know understands the art of everyday kindness.

Brad’s a writer, and a good one, with two successful Random House books to his credit. He took time to speak with me earlier in the year as I was contemplating publishing my book independently—dispelling any illusions I might have had (but didn’t) about getting rich as a writer.

Despite his success with his books, Brad supported himself financially by driving a cab in San Francisco. Early in his cab driving career, he made an unusual commitment: he would give away one free ride each day he drove. He did this without fanfare—blessing an unsuspecting stranger with a simple act of kindness.

He chronicled his experiences over many years in a book he wrote and self-published entitled, Free Ride: Mercy and Madness on the Streets of God’s Favorite City. I love his stories. They offer me hope that there’s a lot of goodness around us hidden in plain sight.

The book includes a mix of stories and color photographs of San Francisco. It could have been marketed as a pricey “coffee-table book,” except that Brad chose to give it away. Going counter to a culture that values squeezing the last buck out of almost everything, Brad offered the book as a gift to anyone who promised to read at least 60 pages. 

I love how he managed to slip some everyday kindness into the cracks and crevices of our partially broken world, proving that sometimes “the light gets in” through our simple deeds. (With a tip of the hat to Leonard Cohen.)

Your gift doesn’t have to be big or recognized to make a difference in the world. It can be quite ordinary, as the Muse, featured in my book, liked to remind me.

At Thanksgiving, I thank you for all the ways you bring light into the world and brighten someone’s day. 

4 Responses

  1. Lovely, Sally… as lovely as your “Meeting the Muse After Midlife” — thank you, what a nice surprise here on the day before Thanksgiving! We are all so fortunate to be here… Warmly, Brad

  2. Yesterday, I gave my former husband my guitar, teaching books and all the accessories. I loved the guitar but had never been as successful with it as with piano. Also I included a set of bongo drums that our granddaughter never practiced.

    He was thrilled beyond belief. He said he had been thinking about playing guitar and also tapping rhythms on his lap. He picked up each little item with amazement It just made my day.

    I guess it was extra special because I still am attached to the guitar. In clearing my apartment of “things” I don’t use, I knew I would never use it again. It just tickled me to watch him.

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