The Right Thing at the Right Time
I have been fortunate several times in my life to come up with just the right thing to say at just the right time -- instead of three days later, which is what usually happens. Please note that these were all people I knew well enough to be confident that my comments would be taken the way they were intended, and appreciated; which they were.
To the distraught mother of a seven-year-old who had swallowed a ball bearing:
"This too shall pass."
To the oral cancer patient at a checkup; I asked if the bronzing of his arms was from radiation therapy, and to which he had responded no, he had been sitting out on his deck getting a little sun:
"You'd better be sure to use sunscreen. You wouldn't want to get cancer."
To the double amputee as I was about to tell her something surprising:
"Are you sitting down?"
To the patient with longstanding dental problems who woke up one morning unable to find one of his teeth (it fell out regularly; he kept taking it to the dentist who kept shoving it back into the socket) and was pretty sure he'd swallowed it:
"Well that'll come back to bite you in the ass."