When you don’t know you’re touching someone

I believe in the impact that small interactions can have on the parties involved. A brief exchange between strangers can change the course of someone’s life as much as a deep conversation with close friends.

Martine Wright playing sitting volleyball at the 2012 Paralympics

Martine Wright playing sitting volleyball at the 2012 Paralympics

A friend of mine recently told me about the baby shower for a mutual friend of ours who happens to be pregnant. Each of the girls at the shower made a wish for the coming baby, hopes they had for the child’s life or whatever “power” they hoped the child would have. The mother-to-be said that, more than anything, she wanted her child to learn to fly an aeroplane. Several weeks earlier I had told her my story of meeting Martine Wright, a Paralympian who had won a pilot scholarship for disabled people.

I don’t even remember telling my friend that story when she came to see me in hospital, but it made a huge impression on her. One doesn’t need legs to fly an aeroplane and she saw that it meant so much to Martine and I that we could still do amazing things, even though we are disabled. She wanted to give her child something that would never be taken away, a sense of freedom that was always accessible.

This story goes to show that even the littlest, seemingly insignificant things one says might mean the world to someone else, and it really doesn’t take much to be a positive influence in someone’s life. Buying someone coffee or paying someone a compliment can be just the touch of encouragement they need in that moment.

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