Today I figure most of you will be reading about the horrible things that happened almost a decade and a half ago. Hopefully you will also read about the acts of heroism and humanity that followed what happened. I have decided to write not about that day but rather about a couple little times where strangers went out of their way to be nice.
This is a story from my first birthday in our new city. I pulled it for privacy, but I think it is an appropriate story to share now.
I was under strict instructions to have fun to day and enjoy myself, so I went to Dean & DeLuca to get a naughty coffee. I was thrilled to see my favorite Barista was there and a to make matters better a divine smell filled the whole place. I asked what it was and she said it was bacon, you think I would have known but really it smelled even better than bacon. It wasn’t the fatty greasy bacon smell-it was just the good bacon smell. At first I got a decadent Iced Mocha with whipped cream and decided to pass on breakfast. As per usual it was wonderful, but as I sat drinking my dessert of a coffee, the bacon smell bewitched me to go up to the counter and order a breakfast sandwich. The same Barista greeted me with a warm smile and took my order. There was a gentlemen behind me in line that heard me tell her that the bacon smell had done it’s job and I wanted to order breakfast, he chimed in that he was trying to get out before he ordered a sandwich too. I explained I don’t normally get the breakfast items there, but it was my birthday so I thought I would treat myself a little bit.
He exclaimed,”Happy Birthday!” and then looked at the Barista and said he was buying my breakfast. I thanked him, but told him that wasn’t necessary. He told me it was my own fault for mentioning it and said that was the end of it (with a smile of course). I looked at the Barista for help but she just smiled at me too and took his card. I thanked him again and sat down at my table. I was seriously almost moved to tears. The man who bought my breakfast came by before he left and we chatted for a few minutes about birthdays, what we did for a living, and our families. He kept himself at an angle that communicated he was not expecting to be asked to sit down. Before he left I shook his hand thanked him again, he wished me a very happy birthday and left.
The Barista came by with my breakfast and said, “Sorry, I had to let him do it.” I told her it was sweet and that people are so nice here. She agreed and told me how just last week she had run out of gas on the way home and had to walk to a gas station. She only had $5 on here so she couldn’t get the fancy reusable gas container but a man behind her in line heard this and bought it for her and added $20 to her gas tank. He said the only condition was that she had to keep the container in her car and pass along the goodness when she could. Can you imagine?
Before I left I asked the Barista her name and told her what I had been telling Honey for months, which was she was my favorite Barista ever (and I even lived with one for a time). I told her that when I walk in and see her behind the counter it makes me so happy because I know I am going to get an incredible drink and wonderful service and I thanked her for it. She told me I made her week.
I also called her manager later that day and told her the same thing, hopefully that will help make her month or maybe even help her get a raise-she deserves it!
Another time, during Firefly’s first visit out here; her, Honey, and I went out to dinner. It was the dinner rush and parking was sparse, so Honey parked a few lots over in the shopping center from the restaurant. There was no sign of rain as we entered the restaurant, but like some Summer Southern storms do, one came out of nowhere… as we were walking out. We didn’t have jackets or umbrellas. It was pouring, so much that it looked like it would never leave.
Honey, being the gentleman that he was, went off to get the car while Firefly and I waited under the valance. After a few minutes, with the rain still beating down a car pulled up from the curb and a little old lady got out of the passenger side. She had an umbrella over her head and the driver went off to find parking.
She looked at us, gave a little smile a slowly walked over to us, and asked”Do you have an umbrella in your car?” I was confused by the question, but rep lie, “Yes, ironic right?”
She said,” You can use my umbrella to get to your car.” Such kindness in one of the worse storms I had seen (at that point), seemed so alien back then. I explained my husband was getting the car, but thanked her for the offer. A few minutes later Honey’s car pulled up and we scrambled to get inside without getting as soaked as my husband looked at that moment.
He told me the strangest thing had happened. As he was crossing the street a Jeep stopped next him, rolled down window, and a nice man offered to drive him to his car. Honey decline he didn’t want to ruin this man’s upholstery because at that moment his car was only a few hundred feet away. But he was also blown away at the kindness of someone who just wanted to help.
So there are two little stories of people being nice just to be nice. Giving us, at the time, a feeling of welcome in our strange new land.