Viral Twitter thread shows the lifelong impact of a stranger’s kind words
Many of us can recall singular moments in our lives that forever changed our perspectives. Experiences that, when reflected upon, carry so much weight and value we don’t know where we would have ended up without them. Take the powerful story featured in this viral Twitter thread, for instance.
Writer and producer Ed Solomon shared a story on his Twitter account about a woman whose life was profoundly impacted by an exchange she shared with a stranger in an elevator when she was a child, many years ago.
The kindness shown by a single stranger in a single moment helped carry this woman through some of the toughest times of her life.
The other day a woman related a story to me about how her mother had viciously berated her since she was a child. And how one day it was happening in an elevator – in front of others. When the door opened on their floor the mother bolted out but just as SHE started to go.. 1/
— Ed Solomon (@ed_solomon) January 29, 2018
.. a stranger - a random person who happened to be there - whispered, “Hey.” And the (then 11 yr old) girl turned back. The stranger said: “It’s not you. It’s her.” And then the elevator door closed. Why do I bring this up? 2/— Ed Solomon (@ed_solomon) January 29, 2018
Because the (now 53 year old) woman told me that at times when life gets really dark, when she hears her (inner) mother’s voice telling that she’s shit, she can’t do it, or to just plain give up.. she then sees that stranger’s face as the door closes in front of her. Nodding. 3/— Ed Solomon (@ed_solomon) January 29, 2018
Sometimes it’s the only thing that keeps her going. The point? If you have a nice thing to say - a word of encouragement, a compliment - even if it’s to a passing stranger.. Don’t hold onto it. Cause you just never know where and when it will land. 4/4— Ed Solomon (@ed_solomon) January 29, 2018
“It’s not you, it’s her.” As someone who was raised by a toxic mother, this resonated with me on many levels.
The fact that Solomon says this woman feels it’s “the only thing that’s kept her going” at times proves how powerful positive interactions can be — even brief, seemingly simple moments in time like this one.
Many people on Twitter seem to agree, and shared their own similar experiences.
I was beaten and abused as a kid and my teacher told me at age 9 ( she whispered) “one day you’ll write all your wonderful stories down and people will listen to the girl that you hide just now.. it will come out and you’ll be proud of yourself” I never forgot Miss Miller.— Janey Godley (@JaneyGodley) January 29, 2018
My mother was always hyper-critical of my appearance: get your bangs out of your eyes, stop slouching, hold your tummy in. One my day when I was wearing a green skirt and a pink top my 6th grade teacher told me I looked like a lovely flower, that I was always a flower to her.— 📯Laura Weatherspoon 📯🌲 (@LauraJanespoon) January 29, 2018
Sometimes all it takes is one person — a teacher, a mentor, a friend, or a stranger — to give people something to hold onto.
This made me cry. If you have a vicious voice in your head, you have to hear it and question it (sometimes many times a day). The more you notice & redirect the voice, the better chance you have at peace & happiness. https://t.co/yw5v6sYViY
— Heather Havrilesky (@hhavrilesky) January 29, 2018
I love this. I’ve never forgotten the woman who reached out and touched my elbow as I was on the verge of tears, dealing with a tantrumming toddler in the middle of a busy street. ‘You’re doing an amazing job,’ she said. https://t.co/JEq4RerLUt
— Love Audrey 💕 (@Loveaudrey83) January 30, 2018
This thread sums up why I always share any genuine compliments that come to mind, even though some people like to dismiss me as a “suck up” for it. You never know how much you can help someone just by sharing the positive thoughts you have about them. https://t.co/j0Yv8kiiuO
— Heather Cannon (@perksofbeingHC) January 30, 2018
I was the kid in the elevator but the dressing down was in Bengali. I think her tone gave it away though. A word like this would have made all the difference. https://t.co/gU00z7xDHu
— forethoughtgirl (@forethoughtgirl) January 30, 2018
During the lowest point of my relationship with my own narcissistic mother, my closest friends were the first ones who quieted my inner vicious voice and pulled me to the surface of the toxicity I was, quite frankly, drowning in. Because of their strength and positivity, I was able to help pull my little sister out of it too and together, we learned to lean on the family members we could actually trust.
While I may not see or speak to those few friends as much as I’d like now, a decade later — I will never, ever forget what they did for me. Much like the woman featured in this thread, the unconditional love they showed me back then is something that keeps me going even now.
It's the replies to this that've blown me away. We THINK power only comes from being in a lofty "position." And that's a KIND of power, for sure. But the REAL power is in our every day, moment-to-moment interactions with people. We ALL have incredible power. It's kind of amazing. https://t.co/mPPEfGxgkE
— Ed Solomon (@ed_solomon) January 30, 2018
No matter how or why this thread impacts you, the lesson to be learned here is that nothing bad ever came from sharing a simple kindness. Positive impact matters, however small it may be.