In the spirit of complimenting someone in the moment:
Clara, Charlie, and I were eating dinner at a local restaurant on Friday night. I spent way too much money on grilled cheese and macaroni and cheese (which would’ve cost me about 12 cents had I made those meals at home), but my soup and wings were excellent.
As we were exiting the restaurant, a woman pulled me aside and said, “Please don’t think I was eavesdropping or spying, but I couldn’t help but notice that you never looked at your phone even once since you entered the restaurant. Your kids, too. Never even took their phones out. It was so lovely to see a family enjoy a meal without looking even once at a screen.”
It meant a lot. I hadn’t even noticed that my phone was still in my pocket, but it was.
My kids were just more interesting than the screen.
Then I admitted that my children don’t have phones, so they had no choice in the matter.
“I was the only hero on this night,” I said.
The woman grabbed my forearm, squeezed, and said, “Bless you.”
This also meant a lot.
There’s really nothing better than the kindness of a stranger. When someone who will probably never see you again takes a moment to offer a kind word or an unexpected compliment, it’s an extraordinary experience.
Also a reminder to keep my eyes open for strangers deserving praise.