Ah, the Kindness of Strangers
December 22, 2013
I have a rather touching story to tell about an incident from this past summer. Being the joyous holiday season and all, this is a great time to share it. It began with a phone call I received from a woman who resides in North Carolina. She was calling to inform us that she had been on an airplane flight back to her home, and when she reached into the little pocket behind the seat in front of her to browse through the SkyMall catalog, she discovered a book. In the book was a checkout receipt from the Riverside Branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library.
She had many options. She could have just left the book there. She could have taken the book home for herself. She could have told the flight attendant about it and let them deal with it. Instead of doing any of those things, she took the book home and looked up the phone number of the library. I took the call when she called in to tell us about the book. She took the time to tell me how important she felt it was to make sure this piece of literature stays within our system for other people to be able to check out. Then, she wanted to make sure the person who had checked it out would not be billed for the book.
As it turns out, the customer who had checked out the book was a teenage girl. It was an award-winning book of young adult poetry. The woman from North Carolina offered to send the book back to us at her own expense.
A few days later, I received the book in the mail with a note from the woman telling us she was glad to help out and that she was proud in her own small way of continuing to help young people experience the joy of books. When I contacted the young lady who had checked the book out, she was ecstatic and asked me to pass along her thanks, which I did with a personal, hand-written note to the kind stranger from North Carolina.
Stories like this happen every day. With very little effort, a kind gesture can change someone's life or at least make their week a bit brighter. While there are many great books, articles, and films about paying it forward or doing little things to make a difference, Amazing Adventures of a Nobody is an enjoyable story. We have many more here at the library as well, so come on in and browse. We're always here to help, but most importantly, we are always happy to see our fantastic MCPL customers help each other!