There was a woman in college named Linda. Ms. Linda (as everyone called her) swiped your ID badges for you to go into cafeteria to get food. She was (and is) a joyful and loving woman. I was in a really bad place in life. I worked midnight - 8 three days a week and went to school from 1000-1700. I was exhausted and sick all the time. Then, at the beginning of the semester, I had a series of financial snafus and my hours at work were cut back.
I had a decision to make. I could either buy the books I needed for the next few weeks in college, or I could buy food. I was on a limited meal plan, so only 1 meal a day could be in the cafeteria. That day I went into the cafeteria to her desk, my backpack full of overpriced books, seriously lacking on sleep to the point of exhaustion and my bank account empty and Ms. Linda said, "What's the matter, darling, you look pale."
With 10 or so people behind me in line I started bawling my eyes out. I was so embarassed! At that point I was so exhausted I couldn't even stop myself. But Ms Linda got someone else on the desk, sat me down and asked me what happened. When I told her, she was sympathetic, said everything would be ok, etc and I went in to eat. When I went to thank her - she had a bag full of food for me. She gave me food every day until I said I would be ok. Every day she gave me sympathy. Every day she was a kind ear.
And I wasn't the only person whose life she touched. If you were sick, she'd drive you to the doctor herself if she had to. She'd bring food to your dorm if you were too sick to move. She knew everyone and, seemingly, anything. So, if she couldn't do something for you, she'd find someone who could. In that cafeteria, everyone was united because we were all Ms. Linda's "kids." You could sit with anyone, talk to anyone because of the atmosphere of acceptance and kindess which she fostered right at the front desk.
One year her husband got very sick. He was in the hospital, and then he died. Everyone was asking about her - "where's ms. linda? how is she? what can we do to help?" She had touched everyone's lives so much that now everyone wanted to be there for her in her time of need. She got offered rides to wherever she needed to go. She recieved at least 10 "Someone at MYCOLLEGE loves you" teddy bears. Her husband recieved teddy bears while he was in the hospital from people he didn't even know - but everyone loved Ms. Linda so much that he, by proxy, was loved as well. He asked to be buried with them and he was. She was inundated with flowers. Students went to her husbands funeral to support her and hug her - to give her sympathy and a kind ear.
I think it really showed her that she was loved. When she came back, she simply could not communicate how important it was to her that students did that - that we cared. But she started it