On the Right Track

A train, a writer, a cast, a kid and a wedding planner. They all came together last month in a chain of kindnesses.

My colleague, writer Christine, had just wrapped up a business trip in Toronto and was preparing to leave on the train. Her right arm is temporarily in plaster thanks to a tree-root-versus-radius-bone mishap, so she preboarded ahead of the other passengers. Also preboarding was 12-year-old Natalie, first-time solo traveller, long-time sweetie-pie.

The thing was, the little girl wasn’t quite ready to be launched. Nor to let go of the older cousin who was dropping her off. “Natalie couldn’t seem to stop crying,” Christine says. “So I offered to sit with her.” This sat well with Cousin Katie. Business cards were exchanged, because that’s what we do.

On the train ride, kindly Christine did her best to distract the girl from her distress by chatting her up about school, summer vacation, pop culture and writing. Natalie calmed down, even helped Christine unwrap the parts of her lunch that would have been challenging with only one working arm. When it was time for Christine to disembark, her new friend admitted she was feeling better.

How neat it is when an act of compassion leads to an act of connection. Cousin Katie wrote to thank Christine. Christine noted from the e-mail signature that Katie plans weddings. It so happened that a fellow writer needed help with articles for a bridal magazine. Christine put Katie and Other Writer in touch with each other. (Note to the non-scribes in the crowd: Once again, we freelancers do this kind of thing all the time.)

“I believe that we meet people for a reason,” Christine says, “and now I know why I met Katie – not only to feel good about helping her young cousin, but to maybe help a fellow [writer] and an independent business owner.”

Not to mention, Christine might still be gnawing away at Saran Wrap if little Natalie hadn’t been there to apply nimble fingers to her packed sandwich.

“Who knows, maybe more will come of this,” Christine adds. “What goes around, comes around.”

What I keep saying.

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