A simple act of kindness put into motion the salvation of an entire village. The act of kindness was a drink of cold water given to Jesus by a Samaritan woman. There is power in a kind word or deed.
The current edition of Baseball Digest contains an inspiring story of kindness as told by Rick Cerrone, editor in chief.
Cerrone writes about MLB Hall of Fame inductee Derek Jeter's acts of kindness toward a 9-year-old girl whose father, a member of FDNY, was killed on Sept. 11, 2001. Young Katie Mascali, who attended many Yankees games with her father, was taking the loss of her father particularly hard.
Katie's story made its way to the Yankees organization and a special day was set for Katie and her family to attend a Yankees game and batting practice. Katie would soon meet her favorite player, Jeter.
On her day, Katie was seated near the Yankees dugout. Jeter spotted her and shouted, "Hey Kate! Get out here! You're late!" Katie ran out to meet Derek on the field. Derek introduced her to his teammates and let her stretch out with the team. That really made her feel special.
Jeter told Katie, "whenever you come to a game, I want to know that you're here." At each game that Katie attended, Derek would try to spend a few minutes with her. This practice continued for years.
Jeter's little acts of kindness made a powerful impact. Twenty years after Katie's special day, she recalled, "What Derek did... gave me the reassurance that there was still going to be happy times for us... My name is Katelyn and I was always Katie to my family, and when he called me Kate, that was it. I only wanted to be referred to as Kate from that point on."
Kate, who will turn 29 in October, has earned a doctorate in physical therapy from Quinnipiac University and she has wedding plans for next June.
Cerrone concludes his report, "Her life might've been different if Derek Jeter didn't understand, as he always has, the impact his words and deeds could have on others. He's always said and done the right things, all the way to Cooperstown."
Our words and deeds matter too. Let's practice planned and random acts of kindness and love. Who knows how many lives might be changed for the better.
Pick up your copy of September/October 2021 issue of Baseball Digest... and a box of tissues! You'll need 'em!