The Smallest Complement Can Change Someone’s Life

A few months back I received a phone call from a person I did not recognize. Lets call him Bob for the sake of this article and his privacy.

Bob said,

Kevin you won’t remember me but many years ago  you changed my life forever

As you can imagine this is not something that you hear every day. So in my moment of surprise my lame response was

“Wow, well thanks, but how?”

He began,

“I was attending a party in 1989 at your house, the High school graduation party you held for your brother who was heading to West Point.”

Slowly I started to return to the memory of the party in question, and I vaguely recalled the group of my brothers friends, all about 18 or 19 year olds attending a party.

He continued,

“You probably won’t remember this but you were talking to me and my girlfriend at the time, for about 10 minutes. When suddenly you said, you guys make a fabulous couple, I love they way you finish each other’s sentences”

I smiled to myself as I remembered the young couple. They had an obvious love for each other; you could tell by the way they looked into each other’s eyes.

“If you remember we talked for a half hour or so, and at one point you said. I think you should get married,”

he said.  Now that, I could not remember, so I asked,

“Did you get married?”

Bob answer was so heart warming,

“Not only did we get married but we now have seven children, and it is all because of you. At the time I was second-guessing my age and the value of dating so young. But you convinced me to keep going. You changed my life for the better and I am in your debt. We are now married over 20 years, and I keep coming back to that point in time as the source of my happiness.”

I almost burst into tears, never have I felt the impact of my words as I did at that moment. Upon reflection, as I get older and my family and team are to depend on me more and more, I realize that my complements or complaints have a deeper impact on them than I ever understood before that call.

The old line;

“Watch your words; they become actions”

comes to mind as I write this article.


9/13/2011 by Kevin Leigh