I walked to the back of the elevator, heading up to my office. A flustered young woman came on after me, pushing the button to her floor impatiently. The doors closed and we dutifully faced forward and didn’t speak.
Her back was to me and I noticed a small simple tattoo of a bird hidden behind her left ear. I debated for a few seconds if it would be weird to comment on it, if she’d rather be left alone. The lyrics from an old country song popped into my head: A kind word never goes unheard, but too often goes unsaid. Cheesy but true.
“I like your little bird tattoo,” I said, pointing at my ear.
“Oh!” She reached up to touch it, but never met my eyes. “Thanks. I sometimes forget that it’s there.”
We reached her floor and the doors opened. As she got out, she paused to say, “Thanks again. You helped me to feel a little bit better.”
I’m usually a huge fan of elevator silence. But I’m glad I spoke up this time.