Published in the Great North Arrow, March 1, 2023: A Simple Act Of Kindness

- jim Young

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention.” - Kahil Gibran

You never know what a simple act of kindness can do. It could be something as simple as a small gift or a kind word, but the ripple effects can grow to a wave and culminate in a tsunami of joy. Can you just hear a choir of angels singing now?

Now it might be an exaggeration to suggest this story ends in a tsunami but it was certainly at least a breaking wave worthy of a perfect hang ten

Louise was a coworker of mine when I was in the workforce. Like many of my coworkers however, Louise was also a friend. And still is, I might add.

45 rpm adapter tattoo.
We weren’t close, hang-out-every-weekend friends, nor were we in the habit of exchanging gifts on even special occasions. But in 2013 when Louise took her son to a hockey tournament in Cleveland, she decided to visit the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame while she was there because… well, why wouldn’t you? At the gift shop, Louise saw a keychain made of a 45 rpm adapter that she knew I would like so she bought it for me as a simple act of kindness.

Not too many people know what a 45 rpm adapter is these days. The tattoo artist that applied the tattoo of a 45 rpm adapter to my forearm a couple of years earlier didn’t. So for those of you who don’t know, a 45 rpm adapter is a yellow, plastic, triskelion shaped object, that was placed in the large hole in the middle of a 45 rpm record to allow it to be played on the smaller spindle of a turntable.

Actually, they weren’t always yellow and they weren’t always made out of plastic. In fact, they weren’t even always triskelion shaped either but the most common ones were.

45 rpm adapters come in a variety of colours and shapes but the
yellow one in the second row from the top is the most common.

I chose that design for a tattoo to represent my love of music. As I am not a musician, a music stave with notes or a treble clef seemed to be a little pretentious. I was a disc jockey for 10 years however, performing at parties and weddings during the era when 45 rpm records were still being used. I thought that made it a good choice.

So the 45 rpm adapter key chain was something that someone, at least someone like Louise, might see and say to themselves “Hey, I bet jim would really like that,” and purchase it on a whim as a simple act of kindness. And she did.

Almost 10 years later in the little town of Callander far from that moment in both distance and time, My Shirley and I dropped into Lulu’s for a Reuben Sandwich and Buffalo Wings as we are often wont to do when in the vicinity.

The 45 rpm adapter key chain was still with me after all this time. Or so I thought. Our waitress approached me as I sipped on my Club Soda and asked, “Are these your keys?”

Seeing the 45 rpm adapter key chain dangling from the set of keys, I knew instantly they were.

“A gentleman turned them in,” the waitress explained, “and when I saw the key chain I remembered seeing the same tattoo on your arm so I thought they might be yours.”

Apparently I had dropped them in the parking lot and except for a simple act of kindness on the part of the gentlemen who turned them in, our day might have ended very badly. Our car might have been stolen along with our recent purchase of groceries.

Had it not been for the simple act of kindness of the waitress and her keen powers of observation, the keys might not have been returned to us, leading to the time and expense of a locksmith. 

And of course it all began with the simple act of kindness of Louise 10 years ago in Cleveland, Ohio. Who would’ve thought? 

On a lighter note, when I thanked the gentleman for turning in our set of keys he told me he had considered stealing our vehicle, but then saw it was a Ford and thought better of it.

I’m sure I said it 10 years ago, but it needs repeating. “Thanks Louise - for your simple act of kindness - hang ten.”

- 30 -


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