AND Little Things ARE The Big Things

February 16th, 2014

 I was at a wonderful Thai restaurant in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, recently with a group of friends, three of the five gathered have allergy-related diets. One is quite severely allergic to certain foods.

Our server brought drinks and then gave us plenty of time to relax together. In fact, he only came to the table after we signaled him that we were ready to order dinner. The member of our group with the most severe food allergies explained her condition and asked about various options to know whether the server could guarantee them to be free of all substances that affect her.

I have been in other restaurants where the servers respond sometimes cavalierly, dismissively, or impatiently to questions that cause them to have to spend more time taking the order. The man serving us listened intently, suggesting alternatives, and offering repeatedly to confirm whether ingredients were safe with the chef. At no time did he seem anything less than genuinely committed to creating a positive dining experience for all of us.

When my friend learned that she could not be guaranteed that salad dressings or vinegars to make her own with oil were safe for her to eat, she ordered the salad with lemon and oil. What happened next touched all of us.

The server returned with a bottle of something (I can’t remember what) that clearly had not been opened. He brought my friend a small dish, and the oil, and lemons she had requested. He had checked all of the ingredients in what was in the bottle and proudly produced it for her to read herself AND showed her that the bottle was still sealed so that she would know there were no contaminants. This man cared. He clearly wasn’t satisfied that oil and lemons would be the best he could offer my friend. His kindness, initiative, and willingness to go beyond expectations endeared him to all of us. He gave generously and asked for nothing in return.

Sometimes in the midst of busy days, we forget that a kind gesture, caring touch, or gentle word that lets people know that we see them and want to give them a token of appreciation, support, or love is deemed by us as insignificant, no big deal. I submit that small kindnesses are a big deal. They can touch a heart in ways we might not imagine.  They are within the reach of the humblest. AND they are ways to contribute our gifts, change someone’s day, and remember who we are at the core and what we care enough about to make happen. In other words, these small acts restore our connection with the best of our humanity, devoid of self-importance and ego-driven behaviors that ignore or hurt others.

The little things ARE the big things for both the giver and receiver, and the community at large.

Comments are closed.