If I were to name the person who influenced my treatment of others most beside my grandmother, it would be Leo Buscaglia (1924-1998).
Later at an International Association of Business Communicators' major conference in Atlanta, he was one of the speakers. Prior to his speaking there was much posturing. After his speech, the tenor of the meeting changed, warmed, became helpful.
His speeches are on youtube. When I'm down, I listen even if I know the stories of how his father insisted they bring some knew knowledge to the dinner table, his mother's limits, how garlic was suppose to ward off colds. How he had his students go to an old age home or convincing someone to smile. I felt good.
I don't think of him constantly but last week we were in our bank. The line for the one customer service person was long and each person seemed to have a difficult problem. A man in his 20s kept barging in, complaining and she tried to juggle them all. Her face could have been in an advert for a product about stress.
We had several things to accomplish and were unhappy with how repeated efforts to correct them had failed. I suppose we could have, like that angry young man who berated her, but she hadn't created the problem.
I wanted to make her feel a bit better.
"Hard day and that line must be making you nervous," I said.
Her shoulders relaxed. "Oui."
She laughed "I need one of those."
She solved our problems (we hope). Her body seemed a little less tense as she called the next person in line after we wished her not the usual "bonne journée" but "courage."
It wasn't me so much me that wanted to reach out to the woman, but Leo had been channeled through me some 20 years after his death. That's love that lives on.