My Speeches

A Tender Moment With A Stranger
The Entertaining Speaker

Speech #4: A Dramatic Talk

By: Kiki Whitman

February 19, 2003


Have you ever been mozying along in life having a perfectly normal day when out of nowhere a rare and moving experience happens with a total stranger that ends up changing you truly and deeply and profoundly?

Kiki welcomes these life changing and serendipitous occurrences with open arms. She feels like when an experience so life changing happens - that it was a day worth living. Here to explain further is Kiki Whitman.

A famous quote from Dionesus The Elder says:

Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent.

As Toastmasters we may start out silent but we soon learn how to speak. Then theres the discerning about when to speak and when not to. Theres a bible quote that says that the right word spoken at the right time is like medicine to the soul. Sometimes in life, there are those occasions when a seasoned word is greatly refreshing and then there are times, when no words will do.

Last weekend I went for a walk with my boyfriend in Toluca Lake. We love that neighborhood and frequently walk our dog there dreaming of the homes that we would one day own. As we were strolling along, we saw one of my favorite signs "GARAGE SALE" and Im a sucker for garage sales. It was so precious because he said, Baby, now that I have a job, Ill buy you anything you want.... Just precious since he had been in a bout with unemployment for quite some time. We walked up and saw 2 cute old ladies who lived there. I scoped the tables with precision vision and zerod in on the shoes they looked pretty expensive and brand names. Guess what? all my size so I picked out 10 pair! Each one was beautiful. I shall model for you now. I tell you, I missed my calling in life should have been a foot model!

We haggled over the price a bit and then the lady started crying which quickly turned into a sob. I felt guilty for haggling over an already good price but then she told us that the shoes belonged to her daughter who had very recently died of cancer. She said she had to get rid of all of her stuff and it was extremely painful as we witnessed. She watched bits of her life and priceless memories of her daughter being whisked away for next to nothing. I quickly embraced her and hugged the dear mother as she wept and gave her little love pats and as her heavy tears streamed down her face and pounced to the floor I joined her in tears that bellowed from my eyes. I had no idea 3 minutes ago while engaged in trying on those shoes, that I would be sobbing 3 minutes later! I looked at Mason and his eyes were swelled with ears as he witnessed the emotional exchange. Then her sister reached for her handkerchief. We were all literally crying out loud.

I shared with her about my brother and his 5 year fight with leukemia from 14-19. We talked about how it was to adapt to the changes, the illness, the chemo therapy, the death, then the life afterwards and getting on with itand the emptiness it brings. And how important memories are to hold and remember. We could see her struggle having out lived her child and the collapse offered her a release like a dam breaking into reservoirs.

I promised her that I would have the most incredible and fun times in these shoes - and live life for the both of us whenever Id wear those shoes. Mary lit up like a Las Vegas marquee sign in the desert. She knew I would live up to my word. We smiled and then all of us had a group hug.

It was such a rich and sweet exchange a tender moment with a stranger. What an impact this experience had on me for days to follow all the way to this speech.

We walked away with tears in our eyes touched forever by a walk by garage sale. How bout that! Its hard to know what to say in certain circumstances.

Even as Toastmasters, sometimes when loss comes, there are no words that comfort like a hug can. I remember Mason telling her that her daughter would want her to be happy. Her sister telling her to take the time necessary to mourn. I remember telling her that it will take time to adjust and adapt to the changes, the holidays, the emptiness.

Theres an old saying that a wise word spoken at the right time is like medicine to the soul. Special moments are so rare and unsuspecting. You must be present, and deeply in the moment for them to occur.

Im reminded of another tender moment with a stranger that also transformed m...