Two years ago on my birthday, I took my kids the the park to meet a friend for a picnic. The day was glorious: bright sunshine, blue skies, flowers around the park in full color. While I sat near the sand pit watching them dig tunnels and build castles, my cell phone rang.

At that point, I had been working for the university for about four months  doing various freelance projects in collaboration with the marketing department. I had been writing the blog for about two months. I had not yet been on site with the team.

Hundreds of miles away, my colleagues gathered to celebrate the birthday of a another team member. As they devoured a cake-sized glazed donut, they dialed the speaker phone and reached me: in the park, in the sunshine, where the giggles and squeals of my daughters mixed with the laughter and conversation on the phone.

They sang happy birthday to me.

The call lasted only a few minutes. I said goodbye and returned to pushing swings, chasing my toddler, and dodging the spray from the sprinkler park.

I don’t remember what else I did that day, what I ate for dinner, or what else we did to celebrate. That phone call is the singular powerful memory I have of my 38th birthday.

Sometimes, we have no idea how much impact a (seemingly small) action might have in the lives of our friends, family, or co-workers. The remembrance of a birthday, an unexpected card, a phone call: all these have the power to profoundly affect a person’s life.

Tell me something! Share a story of how someone’s small kindness has influenced your life. What can you do today to bring unexpected joy to someone’s life?

You might also enjoy this birthday related post, Happy Birthday to Me!