She timidly asked the woman eating alone if she could join her. It was her best decision all year.

We sometimes lose sight of the fact that every day we have a choice.

We can choose to connect to those around us, or we can choose to close ourselves off. Some days we may not feel like reaching out to others, but on days when we can, you never know just what may come of it.

We're busy.

I know. I'm caught in that cycle, too. When I do get a moment to breathe and do something for myself, sometimes I just want the time to clear my mind and, blessedly, say nothing. There's nothing wrong with that.


But during our more generous moments...

Maybe we could stretch ourselves a bit further — stretch to offer human warmth and conversation to someone who deserves it simply for being another person in our midst. Stretch to brighten someone's day, knowing that maybe we'll be turned down, and maybe we won't. Stretch to keep ourselves open to the world and to other people, even if naysayers would have you believe it's safer to stay tight and closed off. Stretch simply to tell the world that we won't be automatons who use our energy and light only for the tasks required to survive but that we will be people who really live.

That's what happened when Brooke Ochoa went to lunch by herself. She could have kept her gaze fixed to her phone, barely taking in the information from the environment around her. But she tuned in. She noticed people. She noticed Delores. And what came of that is truly beautiful. Enjoy.

Image by Brooke Ochoa.

"Today I Went to eat at a restaurant for lunch and I saw this elder lady coming from afar so I waited to hold the door for her, she was very thankful and sweet. She then told the waitress, "table for one", so I waited and hesitated but then I walked over and said, "I'm eating by myself too would you like to have lunch together?" She was ecstatic! Come to find out she spent the last decade living with her mom who recently passed away and her aunt who recently was put into a nursing home, so she has been having a hard time being alone. We had a wonderful talk, and she just kept smiling and saying thank you for listening to me, which made me smile too! Her words healed my heart just as much as i healed her lonely one. By far the best decision I've made all year!!! Her name is Delores, and we will be having lunch every Thursday from now on."
Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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