For someone to completely lose the power of speech is a monumental thing. Commonly referred to as “selective mutism,” it is generally found among children or people dealing with anxiety disorders. They will remain silent even when the consequences for doing so might lead to a lot of trouble.
One woman was unable to speak, but maintained a steady job at a hospital. The staff understood her condition, but many times patients would be confused. One patient didn’t care, and decided to try and speak to her anyway.
When I was in hospital and just given birth to my first child a lady use to come in and dust and sweep. I would say ‘Hello’ and she would never answer.
I did this repeatedly and no answer. I thought she may have been deaf. I was told that she was mute and had been because she had been in a concentration camp. She had recovered but some children threw ‘crackers’ at her window letting off very loud ‘bangs’, and she never spoke from that day on.
On the day I was going home and I asked her if she would be my friend. No answer. I left her some magazines and told the staff to give them to her. I had left the hospital with my husband a new born child.
Then I realized I had forgotten to ask the doctor something. I went back with my baby and husband. They said the lady had indicated she wanted to see me. She hugged me so tightly and held me. She had tears in her eyes. The front desk staff stood quietly during the entire thing. Not a word passed her lips.
Two years later I heard a conversation on the radio which stopped me on my tracks! They were talking about the lady and the magazines and the events. Unknown to me, at the time that day, she spoke for the first time in all those years. They said the psychiatrist said it was the first time she trusted anyone and that was what broke her silence.
Just the fact that I heard that conversation on the radio was incredible. I thought it was amazing and it made me so happy to think this lady spoke again, and that I had anything to do with it at all.
The most amazing part of this story is that the patient one day discovered how her actions had affected the woman’s life. Normally, we don’t know what happens after we do something kind. We can talk about what we’ve done, or if we bought someone a coffee or dropped change in a beggar’s cup, but we don’t have any idea what has happened afterwards. This time? She found out that her little bit of kindness completely changed this woman’s life for the better! Amazing!
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