Just a tip…

There was a lot of buzz surrounding a ‘new and cool’ place that was coming to our town. Cool… mostly because Summer is coming and it’s an ice cream shoppe! πŸ˜› (My daughter eats it whatever the weather, though! πŸ˜‰ )

The biggest attraction was ‘rolled fried ice cream’ – we’ve never had that here so it was a whole new taste test coming our way!

I bypassed the opening, knowing that it would be crazy busy, and finally took the girls (my daughter and her friend) after school one Friday, two weeks after they had opened. And let me tell you, it was the best ‘all five senses’ experience I think anyone of us had had in a very long time!
The dΓ©cor had an almost vintage feel – turquoises and pinks – I found myself smiling as I thought, ‘Frenchy, from the movie Grease, should be here!’ (Or even ALL the Pink Ladies πŸ˜‰ )
I kid you not… the place smelled like candy floss! Not a sickening sweet smell…. but a bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears…. ”Juuuuuuuuuust right!” πŸ˜›
Our taste treats did NOT disappoint in anyway! We were given extra spoons, so that we could each taste the other ones choice – and we all made mental notes to ‘have that one’ next time πŸ˜‰

But what stood out the most for me? Which sense was made the happiest? HEARING!

There was background music, yes. But at a volume that could only just be heard. It could have been louder – I really like my music πŸ˜‰ But in this case, louder would have drowned out the energy coming off of the staff.
(Yes, I have told management, and given them a great review πŸ˜‰ )
There are four staff members (and a manager) … and watching and hearing their interaction with us, other customers, each other? I smiled and laughed so much that my cheeks were sore by the time we got back to my car!

I am not sharing all of this with you to try and convince you that you need ice cream… but maybe you do? πŸ˜›

We were waiting for our order, and my soul was busy soaking it all up πŸ˜‰ while my eyes tried to notice every little detail, when I saw the small jar….

A small glass jar, no fancy ribbon or decoration on it to make you notice it. A small glass jar, sitting on the top of the display of brightly coloured bubbles and Boba, for their special tea’s. A small glass jar, placed between the beautifully branded cups and serviettes. A small glass jar, with a little label on it that read ”TIPS”. A small glass jar that was EMPTY, at three o’clock in the afternoon, when they had been open (and busy) since 9am.

And I felt so sad.

I plucked the last note from my purse, stepped forward, and dropped it in. That cheerful vibe went up a notch, as they all clapped their hands and gave me a thumbs up. One guy even looked up at the ceiling and shouted ‘thank you, God’. The manager smiled, and came to tell me, ”That’s their first tip!”, and I replied, ”For today?” My heart hurt when he said, ”No. Since we’ve opened!”

If I had had more money, I would have added it to that jar!

But here is the truly amazing part!

A customer came in a minute later, placed their order, paid – and noticed the note in the jar (because people seldom miss seeing money, am I right? πŸ˜› )… so instead of putting their change in their purse, they threw it in the jar. Somebody else was waiting to be served, and they paid by card… but dug a note out of their wallet to throw into that jar!

THERE WAS A RIPPLE EFFECT!

Because that’s how it goes! πŸ˜‰

So with a new week looming….

Please can we help the old lady across the street, or help the old man carry those heavy packages? Please can we pay for the coffee of the person behind us, or buy an ice cream for the little girl pulling on her mommy’s hand but mommy clearly doesn’t have enough?
Someone will see…. and maybe they will do the same for someone else!

Let’s get a ripple kindness going! All over the world! Every day!

It might make you smile so much that we can have sore cheeks together… despite the distance between us πŸ˜‰

(P.S. Management has now decorated that glass jar πŸ˜‰ )

Seeing

I’ve had it confirmed by more than two people in the past two months. Something I have actually never thought about, but after the first person made the observation, I DID think about it… and have come to realise that it might possibly be true.

I SEE PEOPLE.

And no… not in that creepy kind of way where I see what isn’t actually there πŸ˜›
(although one time I wasn’t wearing my glasses, and in the waning light of dusk, I could swear someone was standing in my neighbour’s house, staring at me. I called my kids, and they laughed so hard at me, they were actually in tears! Both of them! It was the tied back curtain and the lamp that I was seeing πŸ˜› πŸ˜› πŸ˜› )

The interesting thing is that my brain seems to be selective with ‘who’ I see. It has happened far too many times that my teenage daughter shakes her head in disgust because I DIDN’T see the ‘good looking’ guy in the store with us – even when she describes his clothing, or tells me he was with us at the dairy section. πŸ˜› Her final statement is usually something along the lines of, ”because you were too busy greeting and chatting to all the staff”.

I guess that has always been ‘my thing’….
But this past year, with the pandemic, it’s become even more of ‘a thing’.
Medical professionals and personnel/healthcare workers have rightfully earned the lion’s share of attention this past year – they are on the front lines, and by the time people get to them, exposure to the virus is a guarantee. They’ve put in extra hours to care for the sick, and despite sheer exhaustion, they have shown up. They deserve our thoughts, prayers and gratitude – and my next statement is in no way meant to detract from the amazingly difficult work they have had to do, so please don’t misunderstand me.

It struck me, as I watched yet another complaining customer get rude with the manager at my local store because of an out-of-stock item, and he very patiently let her verbally attack him, and continuously apologised until she had worn herself out, and marched off. And the thought that came to mind was,
”What about him? And the rest of the staff? Has anyone actually thanked them?”

Because in this pandemic, they have all shown up too. They’ve arrived at work, and stocked the shelves, and stood at the tills…. for me! And so many others! And they have done it, not knowing if some careless customer HAS the virus and just isn’t saying anything – not knowing if they are going to be exposed. And yet they are there, every day.
And it reaches so much further than the grocery store. Because it made my mind travel to those who provide transport, and those who are waiters and baristas, and those who are educators etc etc… the list goes on…
They’re still providing a service to us all…. not knowing if on THAT day they are going to be exposed.

But it’s not just about the virus. Or the gratitude to the people who show up and expose themselves, day after day.

It’s about life. I felt this way before the pandemic, and I will still feel this way after it has passed. Yes, I feel it more strongly in the midst of the chaos in the world because of the pandemic. But it will ALWAYS be in my heart….

Let’s try and SEE PEOPLE! Not just the ones who are pleasing to the eye, not just the ones with the fancy cars and the expensive clothes, not just the ones who have important jobs and job titles…. let’s try and see the ones who, because of circumstance, are ‘less attractive’ than the list above. Let’s try and see the ones who have nothing to offer us. And let’s offer them the greatest gift of all – hope.

Because any act of kindness, even if it is just a broad grin on your face when you catch their eye because in that moment you have nothing else TO give? That one small thing could be the reminder they needed…

”Somebody sees me. There is still hope.”