Stories of Kindness from Around the World

An Unexpected Thank You from 3 Years Ago

--by jantaigen, posted Sep 23, 2008

“You probably don’t remember me,” she began, “but I have come back to file for Graduation with Distinction.”  And then she pulled out a piece of paper from her wallet and gave it to me to read.  It was my handwriting, but I didn’t remember writing it. 


As the Assistant Director of the Honors Programs at the university, one of my jobs was to review student transcripts to make sure they met requirements for continuing in Honors.  It was not uncommon for freshmen to have a rough start and be notified that they could no longer continue in Honors after their first semester.  Sometimes second trimester report cards would be sent to us anyway, even though students were no longer in the program.


The note she handed me read, “Congratulations on your terrific second semester.  While I know you may have been disappointed from your fall grades, you should feel wonderfully proud of how you have turned your effort around.  That is an impressive achievement!  Best of luck in keeping up the good work, and remember with a 3.5 average (which you can do) by your last semester, you qualify for Graduation with Distinction.”


I didn’t remember sending the note, handwritten (and not very neatly) on the bottom of her second semester transcript.


The student went on and said, “You can’t know what this meant to me.  I have carried it  in my wallet for three years and pulled it out anytime I didn't want to do my work.  For three years I have been planning on walking into your office and giving you this note and this transcript." She handed me her latest transcript, 3.502.  "I would like the paperwork for graduation with Distinction."


I was awed and humbled.  She cried and I wanted to. Writing the note seemed like nothing to me, but had meant so much to her.  I really had no idea my actions had such meaning.


I have enjoyed this memory for many years -- with gratitude for such an act of kindness.  The kindness of course was not mine in writing the note (I only wish I had written more notes to more students), but her kindness in wanting me to know that what I did had mattered.


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Readers Comments

cf wrote: Uuh. In germany, we say "pippi in the eyes", i guess you know what 'pippi" normally means, and what's happening because i'm reading your story? ;-)
Diana wrote: Thank you for

(devoted to brandon. )

Thank you for all the gifts you’ve given me.

Thank you for all your understanding.

Thank you for all your caring for me.

Thank you for living.

Thank you for all the love you’ve given me.

Thank you for all the memories.

Thank you.

Thank you for being someone i adore.

Thank you for all your support.

Thank you for always being there.

Thank you for all the good you’ve shared.

Thank you for all your smiles.

Thank you for all the happy days.

Thank you for having faith.

Thank you for all good times you’ve made.

Thank you for all your teaching.

Thank you for all your reaching.

Thank you for knowing me.

Thank you for believing in me.

Thank you for all the good you say.

Thank you for all your loving ways.

Thank you for all the good you do.

Thank you for being you.

-diana lynn neiderhiser © 2002.

sego wrote: It's a fact that you project what you are. And you are indeed a great person
Bosslady1 wrote: Awesome! I work with developmental reading students and it is amazing what a few words of encouragement can do to their self-esteem. Let's not beat them down anymore, but inspire and motivate them to reach for the stars!
azie wrote: This story clearly demonstrates the power in positive reinforcement. Instead of beating down a student for what they have not achieved encouraging a student is the only way to succeed!

Lee wrote: Wish we had more people like you to give encouragement. Especially since the world is getting more and more selfish.
zach wrote: It was a good story have a nice day
Victoria wrote: Very touching and inspiring. Always, always emphasize the positive and write more. I cried - i remembered my university days. Good memories.
Toemas wrote: Imagine the daily opportunities that teachers, counselors, administrators, supervisors, politicians, law enforcement personnel, military personnel, tsa, and others "in" control, to share what caregivers, physicians, clergy, children and their parents, volunteer coaches in youth sports, red cross, philanthropists and others experience in their daily lives are the simple, random acts of kindness, beginning with recognition, listening and then action. When we are all able to reflect upon those individuals who "made a difference" in one's life, however small, insignificant you may think it is, the pure knowledge and thought someone "remembered" later is not unlike finding a relic buried and rediscovered many years later.
TUNDE wrote: The stories have confirmed that sowing seed of kindness makes the world a better place for all.

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