One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from Mother Theresa- “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”  She also said “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.”

Our family dog was hit by a car on Friday.  We took her to our vet, and she later needed to be transferred to another vet hospital for surgery on a broken leg.  The good news is everything went well, and Amy is home, happy and silly, if a bit tired from her ordeal.

During this process, so many people provided small kindnesses to us that really meant the world.  My Podcamp NYC friends sent their good wishes and were that hand of kindness to me as I went through some of the drama.  My friend Dave, a vet in New York, let me ask all sorts of questions and brainstorm solutions and alternatives to make sure everything would be okay. (Second opinions from 3rd parties sometimes really help.)   The vets let us come and visit Amy and bring her some favorite toys.  Most touching, when we transferred Amy to the second Vet, one of the people from the first vet’s office drove all the way across town to deliver Amy’s favorite toy to her that we left behind- no calls from us- just did it, to make our poor puppy feel better and hopefully a little less afraid.

This small kindness was really touching to me- it showed uncommon care and compassion.  When I picked Amy up this morning after her surgery, ready to come home, her washed and favorite toy was given to us with her meds and discharge instructions.  I was surprised, having realized we left it behind, but never expecting to see it again.  I called the vet and found out Megan, one of the techs did this, and I thanked them profusely.  Not only does this make me even more of a raving fan of my vets- Dr. Strine, Dr. Carrie Andrews and the other great vets of Longwood Veterinary Clinic in Chadds Ford, PA- it means to me that they really care for our animals as memebers of the family- and that’s a level of trust you can’t purchase at any price.

On this Inauguration day, this story may seem silly or inappropriate.  But to me, it casts in sharp relief how if each of us tries just a little bit, to do something kind and caring for others in our life, the long tail effect can be huge.  Small gestures mean more than we can ever anticipate.  Giving someone a hand when they need it, offering help, making donations- just taking small moments in your day to slow down a bit and do a kindness for another- It’s bigger than altruism- It’s bigger than good karma- it’s bigger than a good business strategy.

In tough times, coming together and treating each of us with kindness and helping out in the small ways we can will help dissipate the anxiety and pain that might otherwise fill our hearts and minds.  It will take more than a village- it will take our nation changing its view from one of What Can You Do For Me?  to one of What Can I Do For You?  A small change, but one that will mean the difference between success and failure- and one that starts with small gestures like bringing a poor, injured puppy her favorite toy.   A small thing, but those are the ones that truly matter and are memorable in the long run.