A few days ago I was holed up at my favorite writing table at Panera’s when I noticed a family of 8 hovering over a menu near the counter. They spent some time patiently discussing their options before finally placing their order. Given the number of mouths to feed I was sure their goal was to spend wisely to make sure everyone left with a full tummy. Because of my inquisitive nature, which my husband annoyingly describes as ear hustling, I couldn’t help overhearing a bit of their conversation with the waitress. I learned they were passing through Missouri on their way back to Texas.
The family sat near me and I was impressed with the manners and generally pleasant and easy going nature of the six kids who probably ranged in age from about six to 14 years old. The two oldest kids got cups of water for their parents and siblings. Then they helped the waitress bring the food to the table and the family enjoyed their meal along with good conversation and plenty of laughter. When they were done each of the kids gave the waitress a hug of thanks and they said their good byes. Before they left the Dad, who it turns out is a bee keeper, also gave the waitress a small bottle of honey.
Well, given her surprise and excitement at the unexpected gift, someone walking in may have assumed that this waitress had just hit some portion of a Powerball jackpot. She was a geyser of gratitude and flitted about the restaurant showing off her cute jar of honey to all of her co-workers. I got tickled watching her. One might think, “Geez lady it’s only a little jar of honey that came from a bunch of average honey bees.” But in reality she reacted just like the rest of us when we are suddenly tackled by a random act of kindness. We get all gushy inside (whether we admit it or not) and are overwhelmed by a simple gesture that says “Thanks. I appreciate you.” The gift was secondary to the family’s desire to show their genuine appreciation to someone who’d been kind to them. Watching her beaming face and listening to her tell anyone who would listen about her special jar of honey actually made me feel good. Heck, I suddenly had the urge to give someone a jar of honey or maybe a bag of chips to keep the happy vibe alive. I still smile thinking about it. It’s just proof positive that kindness is contagious. It only takes a little honey to make somebody’s day. I’m just saying.