Treat Everyone Like Their Heart Is Breaking

We never know what someone else is going through, or living with, or coming from. A smile or a kind word can mean the world, just as a snide remark or raised voice can be crushing. This is not to say be a doormat. It is just to say to be kind–to the waiter, to the shop clerk, to the girl on the phone in Mumbai,  to the hotel maid.

Quotation by Kevin Fitzpatrick

I am curious about who Kevin Fitzpatrick is. Maybe he is the Kevin C. Fitzpatrick who is the great researcher of Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, both favorite subjects of mine. This quotation came from a book of them compiled by friend and journalist Susan Soper, whose “Obit Kits” I have written about here. Maybe she or someone will enlighten us about Mr. Fitzpatrick?


  1. Frances

    I love this!
    Another quote:
    “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
    Dalai Lama

    XO 🙂

  2. Love love love this! After having been through what we’ve been through, I am now able to find a great deal of patience with people by wondering, “I wonder if they or someone they loved received a diagnosis today.”
    Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Thank you Frances…I’ve always taught my boys the importance of kindness…in fact I’ve stressed that kindness is the most important trait one can have, as I believe if you are intrinsically kind, all those other good traits will naturally flow. And so far, I think it’s worked! xxoo

    1. Thank you, designchic! And I must say I enjoyed my visit to your site this morning. (Y’all go see – it’s great) I especially look forward to catching up on your Beaufort NC house re-do!

  4. As the mother of two girls I always taught kindness and compassion. My fourteen year old proved to me she follows my example when she shaved her head to raise money and awareness for children with cancer through St. Baldrick’s. She exemplifies the next generation of givers and for that I could not be more proud!

  5. So very true—you never know if that cranky clerk has a child with cancer or some other life changing event happening to them at that very moment. Thank you so much for sharing!
    xo, Lissy

  6. Frances, I “borrowed” your wonderful tender-green rendition for my blog, giving full credit and link of course. Hope that’s okay. It really is lovely: two ways.

    1. Oh Peggy, of course, it is an honor. Thank you, x, Frances … and Readers, learn more about Peggy at and her wonderful “Boldness Blog.”

  7. Amen, Frances!

    I know in times of great distress there were glimpses of hope found among those I encountered in my daily life. A smile here, a door held open there, and a “have a nice day!” with meaning behind it was sometimes just what I needed to shake the sadness.

    Certainly a message that is ageless!

  8. My father always said you can tell the character of the person by the way they treat people when no one is looking. Kindness is free. It takes nothing away from you and puts out a lovely light. No to be a doormat. Yes to leading with kindness.

  9. My dear Frances,

    You truly have a BIG heart…so evident in all of your writing. Thank you for compassion, and wit, too! Your blog is a regular dose of Vitamin B for the senses!
    xxxxx Susie Q

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