I've cried a fair bit this morning, reading all of the tributes to Robin Williams on Twitter and Facebook. He lifted the hearts of millions, was a friend to many without ever meeting them. He made us happy, and he made us grab life. Now he's gone and the reports are that it was by his own hand.
There are, then, nestled among the tributes to his warmth and work, people talking about depression, anxiety and suicide. People talking about how they were held back from the brink by a few words, a hug, a person just being there. Most of all the idea of kindness has come up.
I haven't always succeeded, but I have tried to be kind. I want to make people smile (that's why chose catering as a career). I'm not the class clown but I try to make people laugh, when I can. You might not think it, but this attitude does save lives.
Make people smile.
I know that I have, completely without trying or even knowing it at the time, saved two friends' lives. One heard me yelling obscenities at the VHS player down the hall in student digs and laughed, which put an end to their plans right there. Another simply heard my voice in their head, doing my usual tough love thing.
I wasn't even there, but my past actions held them back.
Be kind. You might save a friend's life.