published Friday, May 18th, 2012

Leber: A small kindness can change your day

Do you ever have a moment when you realize there are good, honest people out there in the world?

Maybe some of you don't need these reminders. Personally, I'm slightly more cynical. Not a cynic, just a skeptic.

Sometimes, however, something happens to show me the happy, shiny, rainbows and daisies side of life. When the mood is right, it can make my whole day better. And that is what happened today.

First, a bit of history: A little more than two years ago, my mother sold her late parents' house to a lovely young couple with a small child. I've never actually met these people, but I assume they're lovely because Mom said she felt pretty good about selling the house to them. It wasn't easy for any of us, really, but I imagine it must have been hardest for her. After all, she grew up there. I did too, but not in the same way.

About six months ago, she received a nice email from the gentlemen telling her how much they were enjoying the house and letting her know they'd welcomed a new baby into it. Another sign, if you care for signs, that this is a family who deserves to live in this particular home.

Isn't it easy to get attached to four walls? I've had a lot of homes -- with my family, on my own, with my Joe -- and I've had a twinge as I've left each of them. That house in Baltimore, however, where I never actually lived but that was as much of a home as any place I did, was the hardest one to leave.

"My kids are sentimental," my mother wrote in an email to the buyer, mentioning that if he ever wished to sell the furniture than came with house, she might be interested.

The sentimental skeptic, that's me. I should start a blog.

But before I get lost in the blogosphere or any more of my reverie, I should tell you about what happened today.

Mother got another note.

"My wife and I recently uncovered a box of old photos and small jewelry items that we assume belonged to your parents," it read. "I'm happy to send this to you."

Holy cow.

It's been more than two years. Everything in that house technically belongs to the new owners. They have no obligation to correspond with us at all. They could have just thrown the box away.

But they didn't. As my sister used to say, who does that?

Sure, it was probably nothing valuable, but they took the time to think the box might contain something of importance to my family. How refreshing and honest and considerate.

As an added bonus, the timing was excellent.

Let's just say I needed something to restore my faith in people today.

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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