A Few Inspiring Words
After Stephen and I had walked from our house up the Arlington, I went into Peets to order a latte while he waited for me outside with Frank. As usual, Peets required a bit of a wait, and as usual, I found myself tingling with impatience. I needed to get home to begin working, and we still had to head to Starbucks for Stephen’s coffee.
Taking a deep breath, I tried to relax while I waited for the barista to make my drink. Just then, another customer walked up and deposited two milk pitchers on the counter. The barista looked over and nodded to the man, who nodded back, then pointing to a take-out cup said, “I wanted to tell you that I touched this. I thought it was mine. I’ll be happy to pay for it.”
“No need,” the barista replied, plucking the cup off the counter. “I’ll just make another.”
“That’s an incredibly nice gesture,” I said to the man, my impatience melting away.
“Well, you know with the problem of contagion, we cannot be too careful.”’
“Most people wouldn’t have said a word, much less offered to pay,” I told him.
“I consider myself lucky to have remained well for the last few years,” he said, coming to stand by my side. “Anyway, I’m retired and don’t have anything else I have to do. I have the time to be considerate of others. That’s why I brought those two pitchers to be refilled. I know how annoyed I get when they’re empty.”
The man and I continued to chat, until the barista called my name and I went to the counter to fetch my latte. Then, as I was leaving, I turned back to where the man was still waiting, and smiled a smile I hoped would show in my eyes above my mask. As I walked past the other customers waiting for their drinks or sitting at tables chatting, I felt as if his words and his kindness were lighting the space around me. And for the past week, these have remained with me, making it possible–despite the war in the Ukraine, the election in France, the fires, the shootings, the Republicans—to continue to see and feel the light.