Red Envelope

It’s the little things that make a difference. A smile given freely as you pass someone on the sidewalk. A phone call to a friend you haven’t spoken with in awhile. A good ear and silence when your significant other just needs you to listen.

Yet you miss so many opportunities. Rushing by with your head down heading to the next appointment. Going to bed exhausted promising yourself to dial that number tomorrow. Interjecting an opinion that turns the conversation and makes it about you.

This week I was shadowing a client who is CEO of a hospital. As I followed him on rounds through the various departments, we encountered many people. Each one – despite the stresses of being a health care provider – smiled, shook my hand and was fully present during our brief encounter.

At one stop I met a woman named Tran. After a few minutes of conversation, she said: “Wait a minute, I have something for you.” She stepped into her office and quickly returned… then she handed me a red envelope with a design of a dragon in gold on it.

Later I looked inside and it was a $2 bill. The gesture made my day… and allowed me to experience an important tradition in the Chinese culture.

Happy New Year!


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