Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Complimentary Angles - A Challenge

The post title is intentionally incorrect. Going back to whatever grade you were in when they threw Geometry at you...you learned about Complementary Angles (notice the "e" rather than the "i") - angles that add up to 90 degrees, or a right angle.

- of the nature of a favorable remark, a kindness, a free something.

A while back, I started doing this thing, without planning it at all. It just started.

I paid someone a compliment.

Now, keep in mind, I've worked most of my adult life at graciously accepting compliments - you hear a lot of them, whether they're sincere or not, when you're in the theatre. It's so tough not to deflect the comments...so uncomfortable with being on the receiving end of praise.

On the flip side of that, I've always tried to make sure that I pay someone a compliment when it's due. No fawning sycophant here. I just think it's important to tell people when you notice the good things.

And then I started writing them down. And handing them to people.

The first one that I bravely scribbled on an airline napkin was "I hope your family knows how kind you are." I'd witnessed this person offer assistance to strangers, speak warmly to children on the plane, and just generally radiate Goodness.

I used the "Excuse me, I believed you dropped this" ploy to get the note into his hand. I was off like a shot and only made eye contact later at baggage claim, his head shaking and eyes wide open.

There have been many more since then, the most recent one was last night. I arrived at McCarren Airport here in Las Vegas (I am trying to blog on the road, which is harder than I thought), and spotted a weary-looking clerk at one of the many shuttle counters. Weary, and slyly handsome - not pretty boy looks, but a really handsome Man. I dug up a scrap of paper, wrote two lines and walked over to the counter - "I believe this is for you."

"You are Beautiful. I hope you know."

I was already out the door, waiting for the hotel shuttle, when I heard a knocking on the plate glass window - he was mouthing the words "Thank you...thank you..." with tears in his eyes. And I turned to hop on the shuttle.

I've gotten a range of responses - "Thank you, I needed that!"..."How Sweet!"..."Um, OK..."..."You're kidding, right?" - but they don't really matter. What matters is telling someone that the world's better for them being in it.

And more often than not, it's the nicest thing that happens to them that day.

So, where do you fit in? We bloggers have so much practice in commenting on each others' posts, and that's a sensationally good habit to have cultivated. Now, take it to the streets. I want to hear from you that you've taken it up - tell a friend, a family member, a stranger something right at that moment - make someone's day. And then let us know about it.

And get really brave. Put it in writing, hand it to someone, and walk away. Then, they'll have a memento to keep, or not.

But they will have had a marvelous moment. And we all could use more of those.

7 comment(s):

soccer mom in denial

Create Marvelous Moments. I sense the beginnings of a movement here.

And I can only imagine the response from seeing tall, handsome YOU striding up with these notes.

Sigh. I love you.


Awesome. I must do this.

And as I will be in that airport in Viva Las Vegas next Friday...I'm going to look for that Man.

painted maypole

this is such a great challenge. i do try to give people sincere compliments, and be kind to people I meet, but this is a little something more.

I take this challenge. hmmm... now... let's see what happens...

(your stories are awesome! you rock!)

Jen of A2eatwrite

What a wonderful idea. I will certainly take you up on this.


I am the owner/moderator of a Yahoo Group. For years I have sent a good morning card hoping to make at least one person smile or feel better. I feel so good when someone writes me back to say I had made their day. Great thing you're doing. Keep it up. (((HUGS)))

Flower Child

I LOVE this project! I'm going to do this. I have some travel ahead and plan to bring a stack of napkins with me.

and another thing - there was this guy here in DC known as "compliment man". he literally stood on the street and complimented people all day long. not sleasy things at the women passing by. genuine compliments. it was great! don't know if he's still around.


Jenn in Holland

You are so cool. Amazing, really.
What a grand idea and tool for spreading the love. You know I am in.

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