Thank You to a Stranger – Week #3 Summary

images-1Well I’ve come to the end of my third week of daily posts for my December writing project. It has grown into way more than I expected. I have learned a great deal about others, but more importantly I’ve learned a great deal about myself. In addition to both of those things, I have an all new level of respect for columnists and pro bloggers that have to produce content on a daily basis. The sheer amount of vision one must have to create a new idea on an every day basis can at times be overwhelming.

I’ve done my best to not attach the the result. Instead of trying to write the “best vignette ever” every single day, I just try to see something that is worthy 0f writing about and let the words fall where the may. When I started I had doubts that I could post daily for a whole month, but I’ve been reminded by the Universe that it’s like any type of practice. The more consistently you bring the kettle to the flame the hotter the water boils. A little over two thirds of the way in, I’m feeling confident that I have a few more posts left in me and am setting an intention to make it to December 31st on a steady streak. I’m sure I’ll have a great deal more to say when it is all said and done. For now here’s a recap of posts #14-21.

Thank you to a Stranger #15

This morning I started to stir in bed at the sound of heavy equipment. It’s happened quite a bit in the past few months. Then as I started to fall back asleep the doorbell rang. This too has happened more than a few times lately. The city us replacing the 90 year old sewer lines.

When I went to answer the door a man in a yellow vest asked me if the car in the street was mine. I told him it was not and he thanked me and went to the next house.

Part of me was frustrated that I had to be disturbed for something that didn’t relate to me. I follow the posted “no parking” signs and park in the garage or on another side street. Another part of me remembered that it’s no fun having to walk up and down the street ringing all the doorbells and getting scowled at.

It’s also no fun to be the person who goes to leave for work only to find out that their car has been towed by a work crew that didn’t even bother to check to see if it could be moved before having it towed.

So thank you to the guy who had the thankless job of ringing the doorbells on our street in the morning. I’m sure someone was very grateful for the warning!

Thank you to a bunch of Strangers #16
There are days when I’ve had to look a little more deeply to find a moment or a person of gratitude during this adventure in writing. And then there are days like today when I find a baker’s dozen of amazing people at the same place at the same time.

It was about 1:30 pm this afternoon and a delightful couple named William and Joan were leaving after their weekly lunch visit. They stopped on the way out and said to me, “Jimmy, do you know who that big group sitting next to us was?” I thought they were asking me for information but they actually had the information. They told me that they were a group of nurses from the Jessie Brown VA hospital. Joan then said, “You know Jimmy I’m so impressed, everyone of them could be making more money in private practice, but they all choose to help out in a place where they are needed even more.

After William and Joan left I went up to the group of nurses and announced that the house was buying dessert for everyone as a thank you for what they do for others. This announcement was met with a hearty expression of joy and applause. On the way out we got a group photo of them in the maitre d’ stand which is there best photo spot in the house. It’s like a clown car of fun and silliness and love.

So thank you to this group of nurses in particular for touching my heart today. Thank you to all the nurses who give their time and love to those in need. And thank you to William and Joan for a big assist in pointing out some strangers to be grateful for today!

Thank you to a stranger #17

Yesterday afternoon I was walking on Michigan Avenue after my therapy appointment. I was feeling energized and my senses were all on high alert.

For the past six weeks I’ve been moving through a period of Divinely designed mystery. I’ve been defining it as a period of stagnation. Over the last few days though I’m starting to see it more as the rest after an intense year of rigorous climbing and/or the calm before the Avalanche. That’s a different story for a different post though.

As I was waking down Michigan Avenue in the dusk I noticed some things I would otherwise have walked past. I noticed the onion dome atop the Intercontinental hotel lit up in green and red. I noticed that the statue in the walkway by the Purple Pig was wearing a scarf. I noticed a man using the rail of the Wacker Street bridge to stabilize his camera to capture a photo of the river and Trump tower. I questioned his decision making on multiple counts. Lol.

Then I noticed a lady in a long coat about 20 yards away from me with arms bursting full of bags. Her coat had blown open in a wind gust and the belt of her coat fallen to the ground. Another lady walking past her in the opposite direction stopped, picked up the belt, helped her button her coat and tied the belt around her waist. All this while the lady with the bags was able to continue to manage her load without putting it down on the street. I thought it was one of the nicest things I’ve seen.

In the hustle and bustle when so many people seem to be in a rush it’s nice to see someone stop to notice a stranger in need even if it was the most simple assist.
So thanks to the lady who helped the other lady tie her coat back up. I bet it caused a ripple effect of other good vibrations and kind deeds…

Thank you to a Stranger #18

Yesterday after my morning/afternoon workday I was doing the same thing many people were doing. Running errands and shopping in the evening rush hour. I had a Toasmaters meeting at 6:30 pm so I was trying to cover as much ground as I safely could without being late.

As I turned to head back north in the car in the direction of the meeting, I spied a Starbucks so I decided to treat myself to a peppermint mocha in the spirit of the season. I have no fear of the red cup!

I had to park down the block and across the street because there was no standing zone near the door. The store was crowded but the line was short. After I ordered my mocha I reached in my pocket only to realize I had left all my money and credit cards in my bag in the car. I told the barista I would be right back and that I’d left my money in the car.
He then asked me where I parked. After I told him he said, “Never mind with that. It’s raining out and traffic is heavy. This one’s on us!”

Now of course I was grateful for the free delicious mocha, but there was something more about his gesture that blew me away. One was his awareness of the energy of the moment and the fact he was saving me space and time. The other was his choice of the word “us” instead of “me” which spoke volumes about the selflessness of his act of giving me a free mocha.

So thank you to the barista at the Starbucks in the loop for your great service. You reminded once again how much little things matter…

Thank you to a Stranger #19

Yesterday in the late afternoon I saw a tiny man come through the revolving door. His body was frail and he shuffled his feet slowly using the aid of a cane to fumble his way through the circular doorway. I noticed him stop to pause after he navigated what would be routine for most of us but was a skirmish for him. I walked across the lobby through a crowd to greet him.

When I approached him I noticed he wasn’t an “old” man. In fact I doubt he was any older than me. His cheeks were sunken in and his jaw had a sharp cut to it. I could tell that his physical body had been through a great deal of challenges either recently or perhaps even for many years. It was his eyes that I noticed the most though. They were a piercing dark brown and they were alive with a sense of life force like few that I have seen before in this lifetime.

I asked him if he would like to go inside the dining room and sit someplace comfortable to have lunch. His reply was, “I would like that very much…”
I held one of his arms as we walked across the dining room so he could be seated on one of the quite banquettes on the west wall. The whole process might have taken a full five minutes. I’m not sure. When we got to the table he took his arm bag off his shoulder, slowly removed his coat and gingerly sat down. I could tell that the whole process was a huge energy expense for him but his eyes never stopped glistening and the wry smile never left his face.

After he sat he said, “Thank you for the great service. I really appreciate your help.” I asked him his name and he said it was John. He then looked at my left wrist and said, “What is the significance of the blue wrist band?”

I almost always wear my Infinite Possibilities wrist bracelet. It gives me a sense of constant connection to the community of loving souls out there that inspire me everyday.
I told John a little bit about Mike Dooley’s teachings and the community of people and the work that Christiana and I have been doing. The entire time John had his piecing eyes looking up and fixed on me. In my entire life I’m not sure I’ve ever felt someone more focused on what I was saying.

When I was done he said, “You’re very motivational. I can see why you would be a great speaker.” I thanked him and just as I was about to walk away from the table I got a message from afar that told me to take off the bracelet and give it to John, so I did. His wry smile got bigger and he put the bracelet on his right wrist immediately. My heart grew so full I began to tear up.

About an hour later, before I left for the day I went over to John and said goodbye and gave him my contact email and the TUT website address. I’m not sure if I’ll ever hear from him again but he passed in and out of my life leaving a powerful message.
So thank you John for reminding me that the measure of a person’s “health” is never to be made based on the status of their body, but rather the fullness of their heart and the power of their mind…

Thank you to a Stranger #20

Last week I found myself at a shiva for one of the few times in my life. Since I was raised Catholic the majority of the memorials I have attended in my family have been Christian based. This particular shiva was relaxed and casual. Great wines were flowing and plenty of all types of foods from both sides of the kosher veil were available. I mean how often do you get to enjoy king crab and latkes on the same plate?

The man we gathered together to remember was a Cool cat named Oz Schoenstadt. Oz came into my life about 13 years ago. We were friendly co-workers. He was one the biggest and earliest supporters of my relationship with Christiana and for that we are truly grateful. He was also very tuned in to the spiritual side of our human existence and we had many wonderful conversations about crystals, meditation, non-denominational spirituality and vibration. I have a good bit more to say about Oz’s impact on my life, but I’m not ready to say to all yet. Frankly he’s not done talking to me. That’s another story all together.

This story is about a man I met for the first time ever when I went to Oz’s shiva last week. His name was Carter. Carter had know Oz way back when he was a young man long before I had the good fortune of knowing either of them. They traveled that path together as friends while Oz ran all three of his legendary Chicago establishments through the years: Oz Bar, Harvest on Huron and Lakeview Supper Club.

I went to the shiva predominantly to see the family, all of whom I had know for many years and some of whom are now dear friends. Carter was the un-expected wild card in the deck though. He told me stories about Oz from chapters of a life I never got to see. He was an extra host to many of us that day. A drink re-filler. A positive vibration source. He always seemed to have a “pen” when it was needed! Carter was a bright light on a day of reflection and a few tears. I look forward to a day I get to talk to him again.

So thank you Carter for coming into my life as a stranger and opening up a door to a new friendship. Thank you also for being what I know was a remarkable friend to a remarkable man. You made a big impression on me in a short time. I can see why Oz loved you so well…

Thank you to a Stranger #21

‘Twas four days before Christmas, and all through the town, commuters were silent as they muddled ‘cross rain soaked grounds. The temps were quite pleasant, yet the day cast its gloom, as trains ran late and the masses sensed doom. The platforms were crowded, quite snug with Internet surfers, all seeking some shelter from a misty morning shower. A silence of energy ran through the whole crowd, a dull, low vibration that made the silence actually seem loud.

Then all of a sudden there arose such a clatter, as a CTA janitor burst off the elevator as if none of this gloom mattered. He smiled widely at patrons and said “Happy Holidays”. And he rolled his plastic dumpster around in the rain collecting trash the careless travelers had not the courtesy to dispose of properly.

This jolly old janitor changed the dark energy, and he changed it right quick. If he had only lay a finger aside his nose and gave me a nod, I might have sworn his name was “St. Nick”….

So thank you joyful stranger, for changing the mood. Your choosing a positive vibe reminds me of our everyday choice….that even the gloomiest of days is no reason to brood.


About Jim Herbert

I've been wanting to write my whole life. By age 45 it had amounted to nothing more than a storage locker of half full journals and a lot of unfulfilled dreams. Then Paris in the fall of 2011 happened. It was the catalyst I needed to consistently blog. At first I had a hard time hitting the publish button, but now two blog sites and over 300 posts later I'm hitting my stride. I'm also a budding speech writer. I've recently been heavily involved in the Chicago Storytelling scene and have also won the Chicago Toastmasters Area 66 International Speech Contest. Check out our website at for more details about the amazing things that are happening in my life. A book or two are nearing completion. With another Paris trip on tap for Easter of 2015 I can only imagine that there are Infinite Possibilities on the horizon!!!
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