By Louis De Lauro
My daughter and I hiked the Lands End Sea Cliffs in San Francisco near the Marina District.
Even on a foggy day, the view was intoxicating. My dear friend Kelly was our tour guide. My teen daughter, Ava, loved every minute of our first full day on the west coast. Kelly took some amazing photos of Ava on the cliffs and photos of her dipping her feet for the first time in the Pacific. I only wish my awesome wife stuck back on the east coast could have taken the hike with us. But still being with Kelly, (my former teaching colleague), the most upbeat and fun person I know, and Ava, the most inquisitive and sweetest person I know, was pretty special.
So we were walking back to our car after the hike, and I announced in a loud voice, “Today is the best day ever!”
Earlier in the day, we saw views from Twin Peaks. And that morning we had an unforgettable breakfast at Chloe’s Cafe. Later in the day, we would check out the Painted Ladies. You know the Painted Ladies, those awe-inspiring colorful houses with the San Francisco skyline behind them that you see at the beginning of the television show Full House.
A not so painted but very cute 30 or 40 something lady was parked near us. She was rummaging through the trunk of her van, and she saw us walking towards her and she gave us the biggest smile. Then she announced even louder than me, “Yes, today is the best day ever!” Kelly, Ava and I laughed and said, in unison, “It sure is!”
The woman still smiling said, “That’s coming from a person with an inoperable brain tumor!” Then she paused and said, “Oh, I’m sorry and embarrassed for sharing so much. That’s probably too much to share with strangers in a parking lot. I didn’t mean to ruin your ‘Best Day Ever!'”
And then my daughter’s face dropped a bit. But Kelly said, “Thanks for acknowledging our day. Don’t be embarrassed. You have a beautiful soul. I’m glad you shared that with us. You’ve got this!”
I added cheerfully, “I can tell by looking at you that you have many more best days in front of you!”
And the woman answered, “Yes, I do!”
I should have added. “You didn’t ruin our day, you made our day even better! Because of you, we will truly appreciate every second of this gorgeous day!”
I also wish I offered her a hug. She deserved a huge hug.
Instead, I smiled and wiped a tear.
A few weeks have passed now and I am still feeling inspired by this beautiful person who I met briefly in a parking lot. I truly feel in my heart that this brave, yet frightened woman has many more best days ever ahead of her.
And you do too!
Editor: Dana Gornall
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