There is a very good cook who lives somewhere near where I work, if scent is any indicator. By about noon, everyday, a delicious aroma wafts up and I'm once again hit with the desire to find the door and plead for "just a bite" of whatever she is making.
Yesterday it was soup, and I was so inspired by the aroma that I came home to chop vegetables and mix spices so I could have my own delectable brew. Not as good as hers was, I'm fairly certain of that, but good nonetheless. Todays menu, at her house at least, was fried fish. Coming from a family, aside from myself, of non-fish eaters I passed, rather reluctantly, to turn my hand to a sea-based meal.
We have never, to the best of my knowledge, ever seen each other, spoken to each other, met in any way shape or form. If we have passed on the street I wouldn't know who she was, unable as I am to locate through smell the kitchen of my unknown chef.
But she, unbeknownst to her, has a power over my mind, and my stomach. Daily she goes about her business, preparing dinner for her children, her husband, herself, her mind perhaps drifting from "needs more salt?" to whatever tasks she has for the day, to a beautiful Torah shiur (discussion on the Torah) she learned that morning. Certainly she isn't thinking about a woman standing on the landing to her office wishing she could have "just a bite."
So much of our life is lived that way. We just do; and we may never know, for good or bad, the effect that doing has on another. How much more so can we affect another's life when we actually have an interaction with them, casual and as unimportant, on the face of it, as it may seem?