‘Invisible Thread’ Author Laura Schroff Says Kindness Is Contagious

By Clark Mason
The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Laura Schroff, author of “An Invisible Thread” shares her story about connecting with an 11 year old panhandler more than 30 years ago and how it changed both of their lives.

The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif.

An ancient Chinese proverb says there is an invisible thread that connects those who are destined to meet.

“An Invisible Thread” is also the title of a book by Laura Schroff that tells the story of her meeting an 11-year-old panhandler on a New York City street corner and the unlikely friendship that ensued for more than a quarter-century, changing both of their lives.

Schroff, who turned the experience into a No. 1 New York Times bestseller, on Thursday recounted her journey and message — acts of kindness can change lives, benefiting both the giver and receiver.

She spoke of the need for compassion and people’s desire to tap into goodness “in this crazy, volatile world.”

“Kindness is contagious,” she told an audience of about 250 people at Luther Burbank Center for the Arts during the Sonoma County Women in Conversation series produced by Sonoma Media Investments, which owns The Press Democrat.

“When you do something good for someone, it makes you feel good.”

In Schroff’s case, she had been accustomed to ignoring panhandlers, But something about the young boy she met that September day more than 30 years ago was different. He had “sweet and trusting eyes” and she soon found out he was “a really good kid stuck in a hard, bad world.”

The boy’s struggles with poverty, violence and a mother addicted to drugs reminded Schroff of her past and how her father’s alcohol-induced rages shaped the person she became.

She said it helped her improve her life and gain a new perspective.

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