It was Thurles. Lunchtime. I was delivering one of my seminars. Someone wanted to talk to me for a few minutes before we broke for lunch. Those few minutes shrunk my break. There was insufficient time for me to find a coffee shop, park and then digest in comfort. So I headed for a service station to acquire a takeaway coffee and sandwich.
I was bamboozled by the choice of wraps. There was a chicken, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and rocket leaves warp cut in two parts begging for my attention. Beside it was some serious competition for my taste buds – a home-cooked ham, basil, roasted peppers and red onion wrap also in two halves.
“Can I help you?” the lady behind the counter asked.
“Just can’t decide which one to choose at the moment” I replied, buying myself more time to deliberate on the decision.
Then it just happened. You know when you just say something without thinking. It just spurts out. The lady looked to me for my decision and I said, “Could I have half of each of them?” My daughter was with me. She withdrew almost to disown me. I was rocking the system too much, especially in foreign territory. But the lady smiled. It looked promising. “Maybe, that would leave you with two odd halves.” I said to allow her options. “It’s okay!” she replied, “All I have to do is make a few more and that would leave you happy!” “Thank you so much” I said in response to her warmth and flexibility. I’m actually an enthusiast when it comes to happiness.” She laughed and I wore a smirk on my face for my daughter.
Next for coffee and to the other end of the shop. I poured my own coffee and pushed the lid down on my takeaway cup. As I approached the counter a horrendous thing happened. I was stupidly gripping the cup by the lid when the lid came free. Splash! All the coffee spluttered itself over the counter. The lady’s fast reflexes saved her. I glanced quickly at my snow-white new shirt and my favourite tie. Both survived without splashes. My daughter hurried away in a second act of disownment. It was mortifying as a puddle of coffee spread across the counter and down on the floor. The kind lady was more concerned for me than herself. “Did you burn your hands?” she asked. I grabbed some towel to help clean the mess. She stopped me on my tracks. “Leave that to me” she continued and she proceeded to fetch me another coffee.
A little kindness goes a long way. It doesn’t always flow. I was in a restaurant last week and asked the waitress for some vinegar. She looked at me as if I had two heads. I wonder what would have happened if I had spilled it all over the floor!
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