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It was a slow clinic day. The first patient was “no show” and the next two patients were follow-ups. There

was a lull before the next patient. I decided to take a break and get a soda. I passed up the break room vending machine. The clinic recently decided to do away with Dr. Peppers and transition to Pepsi. Ugh. So, I headed to the pharmacy downstairs for my Diet Dr. Pepper. I grabbed one from the cooler and stood in a short line. The woman in front of me in line looked back, glancing at my white coat and name tag, and gave me a quick smile. I smiled back. When it was her turn to pay, she said she wanted to pay for my soda! I was startled and said no, but she insisted. The 20 oz. bottle was $1.79 and more change than she had, so I suggested we split it.

She told me she was so grateful for doctors. She said she had her first experience with doctors when she had a brain tumor and told me “I appreciate everything you all do.” We got on the elevator together. It thanked her again and she told me to have a blessed day.

Wow. Gratitude. How great this small gesture made me feel. A total stranger told me she appreciated me for my profession even though she didn’t know me. It made my day. I think all of us need a pat

on the back every once in a while and it seems those are rare. What a blessing this small gesture was for me. I’m going to look for opportunities to pay this forward and make someone’s day. Just like she made mine.

My parents were the best examples to me of Gratitude. They were faithful Christians and loved the Lord. Wayne and Zona Evans were pictures of dedicated followers of Christ and church servants. Their first child was developmentally delayed due to birth complications. It was something they had to find out over time, as my brother David did not develop normally. Their second child, my sister Zee Ann, was a beautiful strawberry blonde child with a cheerful disposition. Everyone’s sweetheart. She died in a car accident when she was 3 years old. Only when I lost my son could I begin to appreciate the grief they felt and how their hearts were broken.

And yet, they remained grateful. Grateful and faithful to God. Grateful to their friends, their church, their work. I could only appreciate how amazing their Gratitude was as I grew older and could appreciate their circumstances.

I’m so grateful for my loving, Christian, grateful parents. I pray that I can be close to as grateful as they were.

Gratitude. It makes a difference for those who are shown it, and for those who have it.

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