Oprah Recalls the Kindness “I’ll Take to My Grave”

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Oprah reflects on the kindness of a stranger who helped her through the toughest days of her 1998 trial where she was sued by the beef industry for saying “It has stopped me cold from eating another burger.”

Oprah on the kind act from a stranger during the trial that “I’ll take to my grave” and how she pays it forward 20 years later:

“Every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., I was in the courtroom. A fence separated the back of the courthouse from the sidewalk, and one morning through that fence a woman handed me a matchbook, the kind they used to give out at restaurants when people smoked. Inside she’d written, “Hang in there. I’m praying for you.” Recalling that moment still makes me teary. I never learned her name or saw her again. But she did me a kindness I’ll take to my grave. I was feeling alone, feeling under daily attack by the prosecution. The trial was a spectacle, and it seemed like so many people were rooting against me. I took it personally—although now, with the help of time and perspective, I see that that’s what a trial is meant to do: The other side wants you to lose and works hard to make that happen. That matchbook inscription was a balm. The whole town wasn’t against me. At least one person was praying for me. Maybe more. Because of that pure act of kindness over 20 years ago, I am more conscious of people who are caught up in public scandals. I’ve quietly sent notes or made a phone call to say, in my own way, “Hang in there. I’m praying for you.”


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