A worried manager was walking through a busy workplace when he saw one of his employees, a blonde woman named Lisa, sitting at her desk with a sad expression on her face. The bright glare of the fluorescent lights made it even harder to see her expression. Lisa had a reputation for being a hard worker, but today was a different story. She appeared to be going through a terrible ordeal.

Because he was unable to ignore her distress any longer, her supervisor, Mr. Johnson, went over to her desk and spoke to her in a tone that was filled with genuine concern. “Lisa,” he asked with concern in his voice, “What’s the matter? You don’t seem like the same person now.”

Lisa paused for a second, her eyes welling up with tears as she considered what to do next. She took a few moments to compose herself before responding, “Early this morning, I got a phone call saying that my mother had passed away.”

The expression of empathy spread across Mr. Johnson’s face. He expressed his sorrow by saying, “I’m terribly sorry to hear that,” and his tone of voice was filled with sympathy. “Why don’t you spend the day at your house?” We do not have an extremely full schedule. Simply take the day off to unwind and refresh yourself.”

Lisa’s tone was unusually calm, and she softly shook her head as she spoke. “No,” was her response, and she continued, “I’d be better off here.” It is imperative that I divert my attention away from it, and I believe that I have the best opportunity to do it here.

Mr. Johnson showed that he appreciated her choice by letting her keep her job and she was able to. He gave her the reassurance that “If you need anything, just let me know.”

As the hours passed, Mr. Johnson couldn’t help but become increasingly concerned about Lisa. He made the decision to look in on her. When he peeked out the window of his office, he saw Lisa sitting at her desk, but there was something odd about the scene. She was sobbing uncontrollably, and tears were pouring freely from her eyes.

Mr. Johnson, who was startled, dashed out to be by her side. He yelled, “Lisa!” while a look of alarm could be seen on his face. “Do you think you’re going to be all right? Is there anything that I can do to assist you in this matter?”

Lisa, who was still crying, turned to gaze at her manager. She was able to mutter a few sentences despite the tears that were streaming down her face. “No,” she answered in a trembling voice as she responded, “I just got a call from my sister, and she said that HER mom died too!”

In spite of the serious nature of the situation, Mr. Johnson couldn’t help but laugh out loud when he finally understood what was going on. It appeared as though Lisa’s “blonde moment” had momentarily diverted attention away from her loss. He offered her some solace by placing a reassuring hand on her shoulder and saying, “I get it, Lisa. Take as much time as you feel you need. Together, we are going to get through this.”

The relationships of compassion and understanding grew deeper in that workplace, despite the laughter and the tears that were shared there. During Lisa’s terrible moment, her coworkers rallied around her and provided support and comfort to her. Even while her blonde moment added some unanticipated humor to the situation, the genuine care and concern shown by her supervisor and coworkers was what really helped her recover and move on with her life.