The Red Ribbon

When I was about 10 years old, I remember my siblings and I trying to think of a gift we could give our parents for their upcoming wedding anniversary. We came up with a plan to buy a collage picture frame that we could fill with notes of what we love about them.

My sister and I rode our bikes to the dollar store. There, we chose and paid for a large gold frame with a crumpled dollar bill I pulled from my pocket.

When we returned to our bikes, we realized a problem: the frame was large — too large for us to carry on the ride back to our house.

We tried over and over to fit it into the basket on my bike. Tears of frustration filled my eyes. A woman walked out of a nearby fancy paper store and noticed us struggling. Rather than walking by, she stopped and listened. Then she reached into the bag of things she had just bought and pulled out a large roll of beautiful thick red satin ribbon. Her hands moved quickly — around and around she helped us tie the frame to the top of my bike basket. We thanked her and rode away.

Almost 30 years have passed, and yet I often think of this woman and her gift. I wonder what she had intended to do with that beautiful red ribbon. I wish she knew how grateful I was — and still am to this day.

Author: Alyssa Forcehimes, PhD

An expert in behavior change, substance use disorders and empathic communication, Dr. Alyssa Forcehimes serves as President of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.