By Andrea Arnold, Associate Editor/ Reporter

Several months ago I wrote about the importance of being kind. Not superficially kind, expecting something in return, but true heartfelt kindness. On the other side of that coin is the importance of saying thank you. 

Recently, I have had two experiences that have brought this importance to light. 

Firstly, an elderly gentleman was struggling at the grocery store. This is not a new issue, as I have witnessed this sort of situation several times. I was in a position to be able to assist him, and gave him a ride home. I did not expect to get anything from him, however, a few weeks later, I received a thank you card from him. It was very sweetly written, expressing how much my simple actions had meant to him. Hearing, or rather reading those words, made me smile, and I realized I don’t think I say thank you enough. 

Fast forward to last week. My aunt who lives in Idaho took a turn for the worse and was hospitalized. It was not looking hopeful. I realized that I never said thank you to her for allowing my dog to come along when my sister and I went to visit a few years ago. My aunt (and uncle) were not overly excited at the prospect, but they set aside their misgivings and we had a great visit. I realized that this was a big thing, and I never said thank you.

Realizing I may not get a chance to speak to her again, I sent a message of thanks through my sister and cousins to my aunt. I heard back shortly that in her weakened state, she’d nodded and smiled. 

I didn’t say thank you for the card from the first individual. He passed away not long after. It made me sad to think that I hadn’t acknowledged his card. My aunt has miraculously gained strength and is once again able to speak, and one day soon, I may be able to tell her in person (or over the phone) how much her actions meant to me.

These two experiences opened my eyes to how important those two words are. A person is not always given a second chance to say them. It is an easy opportunity to make a person smile.

My recent personal examples are both extreme situations, but the lesson remains for the more common moments as well.