Small acts make big difference

Published 8:36 am Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Saturday night is date night around our house. I am usually our event planner, but this past Saturday night Mike picked an outing for us. We met friends and headed toward the Gulf Coast for a change of pace. First stop was Outback in D’Iberville for dinner.

Our timing was perfect; before the crowds rolled in we were seated and ordering. Looking at the long line of people waiting we felt very happy with our decision to try and beat the rush. The handsome waiter resembled Alec Baldwin, and my friend told him so.

On a trip to the ladies room I accidently made a wrong turn and almost followed him into the kitchen. I made a joke of it, but I’m sure my face flushed a little when he grinned at me and pointed me in the other direction.

The steaks we ordered smelled delicious as they sizzled on our plates. Between bites we laughed and caught up on what had been going on since our last evening out together. Passing on dessert with our movie waiting saved us a calorie or two and delighted those impatiently waiting for a table.

Since our friends had already seen our choice for the night, “American Sniper,” we split up at the theater, with them heading to see “Taken Three.” Some portions of our movie were very difficult to watch, but it was a true-to-life war picture. The language in “American Sniper” was rough, and it is not a movie for children. But the story depicted our nation’s military men and women as the heroes they really are. Our freedom has been purchased with blood, sweat and tears, and our military and veterans deserve our deepest respect.

On Valentine’s Day wouldn’t it be awesome if every veteran in a VA hospital or old soldier’s home had cards and letters of appreciation? If everyone reading this column sent just one card we could all make a veteran’s Valentine’s Day a little brighter.

If you are anything like me, not doing something like this is not a matter of apathy; it’s just that sometimes we fail to realize that we can make a difference in another person’s life. In reality, the grand events of our lives loom large and cast a long shadow, but it’s the small daily decisions that matter most in the end.

Once a man was standing on the seashore as the tide went out picking up starfish and throwing them back into the sea before they perished. Upon seeing the futility of his task his friend asked him why he bothered doing this since it made no difference at all. The first man picked up another starfish and tossed it into the sea, quietly stating, “Well, it makes a difference to this one.”

Sometimes, it’s the little kindnesses that matter most.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at