Today is Administrative Professionals Day. It is a day set aside to honor secretaries, receptionists, and all those who work hard to keep offices running efficiently.
This is a story about gratitude, compassion, laughter, and friendship, and a special secretary who brought so much to all who walked into her office.
In 1992, I was hired by a local school district as a special education teacher. Since I was a new teacher, I wanted to get involved with as many things as I could. That is where I first met Donna Petty who was quite involved with the PTA. The first thing that struck me was how much she cared for the children of our school. She worked tirelessly to make sure our students had wonderful experiences. As I got to know Donna more and more, I realized how devoted she was to everyone she met.
However, it wasn’t until a cold, icy December night in 1994 as I stood by my husband’s casket barely holding on when I felt someone take my hand. That precious someone was Donna. The compassion I felt when I saw her tears still has a special place in my heart.
I do not exactly remember when Donna was hired as our secretary. I just know that I looked forward to hearing her laughter every morning. Often I would be sitting in my room, hear her laughing then, laugh to myself.
Sometimes I would have early morning meetings and as I walked through the office, noticed, how she would take the time to talk to the children as they came in to buy their lunch tickets. Some would stop by to show her their new outfit or a new pair of sneakers and of course, she would make a fuss over them. By the smile on their faces, it looked like she made their day. That was Donna, always going the extra mile.
She was always well liked by the parents dropping off or picking up their children. I believe her smile and caring ways earned her a deep respect.
Donna had and still has a wonderful sense of humor. It does not take much to get her laughing. However, when she had a lot of work to do, it would always come before the laughter.
My mother had three strokes during my last year of teaching. Donna was always there to listen and I cannot begin to tell you how much those talks, smiles, and hugs meant to me.
Over the years, some teachers had babies, some faced a death of loved one, and some faced severe illnesses and yet through the happiness and the sadness, Donna was always in her office waiting for us to come in. We were guaranteed a hug. A Donna Petty hug.
I believe that every person we meet along the road of life is special. I believe that we learn from them and they learn from us. So Donna, thank you for showing me compassion. I am grateful for the years of knowing you. You have filled my heart with laughter and very fond memories. Thank you for always being so sweet and kind to my students. You are truly a one in a million.
Questions: Who are you grateful for today? Who has touched your heart? Who has shown you compassion? Who fills your heart with laughter?