"How Mrs. Grady Transformed Olly Neal"

Olly Neal

Nicholas Kristof

This was a wonderful story I read this weekend in the Sunday Review of the NY Sunday Times. It was written by Nicholas Kristof, Pulitzer Prize winning Op-Ed columnist. Nicholas Kristof is also an idealist. The kind of idealist I like. I've been reading his articles over the last few years and most are trying to wake us up to the genocide in Darfur. Once a year Kristof even takes a student and teacher with him on a reporting trip  to Africa to experience first-hand the strife and inspire in them their own way to make the world a better place. 

Kristof's Olly Neal article is filled with the same idealism and I like the take-away. The story is about how a teacher, Mildred Grady, ridiculed and reduced to tears by troubled and trouble-some student, Olly Neal, in the segregated South in the 1950s, ended up doing Neal a remarkable kindness that put him on a trajectory to become a lawyer, the first black prosecuting attorney in Arkansas and then a judge on the appellate court. The kindness wove its way to Neal's daughter who earned a doctorate in genetics.

I love being reminded that by being kind one can change another's day, and maybe their life. And I love that it's often a chain reaction. One kindness begets another. And, extending kindness brings its own joy. 

You owe it to yourself to read the whole story - and then pass it on, along with an act of kindness.

Copyright ©riva greenberg 2007. All rights reserved.