At the college I attended, balloons were part of Valentine's Day celebrations. One could buy one to a dozen (or more) balloons with a special message and have them delivered to that special person.
Coming back to the girl's dormitory after classes, our hallway was filled with balloons. Walking to my dorm room was comical as I dodged the balloons floating in the hallway awaiting for their owners.
The last year I was there, a dozen balloons remained in the hallway--unclaimed--floating in front of my door. Every time I left my room, I had to push them out of my way. Annoying.
As we prepared to leave for dinner that evening, my friend looked at the unclaimed balloons to see if perhaps they were delivered to the wrong dorm. She looked at the name and said, "Hey, they're for you!"
What?...I had no romantic anything with anyone and as I recall this story, that year was a particularly bad year for me. There was turmoil at home and I was in a very low place. I kept it all inside and told no one. On top of what was going on at the home front, I was the kind of girl that never felt deserving enough, good enough, thin enough, pretty enough...you get the picture.
I opened the note attached to the balloons and they were from a male friend--a male friend I had only recently began to get to know. We just hung out mostly--watching TV, laughing, studying...nothing really special, but we enjoyed each other's company.
The note was simple. He said that he enjoyed hanging out with me. He liked laughing with me and he enjoyed my sense of humor. He thought I was a "cool" friend. That's it. No more, no less.
Little does he know that in his simple act of appreciation, how much he lifted my spirit. It is a tremendous feeling to be appreciated. That feeling was foreign to me until that day.
Since then, I have loved Valentine's Day. It didn't matter that I didn't share it with someone special. I remember that day (many years ago) someone made me feel special and I have paid it forward ever since. A warm smile, a welcoming hello, a thank you, a compliment -- simple acts of kindness go a long way for the giver and the receiver.
Happy Valentine's Day. :)