It had been far too long since I’d had lunch with my dear friend NotMary. After a slight hiccup in the plans due to my car’s suddenly dead battery, she swung by my place to pick me up and we finally settled into a 2-top booth at a local favorite, Folk Art.
As we caught up on each other’s life developments since the New Year, we couldn’t help but notice the off-the-charts adorable scene sitting right next to us. There was a father, having breakfast with his two little girls. He nursed a mug of hot coffee like his life depended on it, but patiently answered every question asked by a little voice. His oldest was maybe 4 or 5 years old, with swinging blonde hair, a vivacious attitude and clear love for bacon. (Smart girl.) The younger was probably 2.5 or 3, also a blondie with big blue eyes, who would rather color on the menu than eat her eggs and fruit.
I remember thinking that he was a good Daddy, probably giving the mom a much-needed morning off on a national holiday by taking his girls out for brunch. Or he could be a single dad who just wanted to get out of the house for a decent breakfast he didn’t have to cook. Either way, good on him.
NotMary and I were deep in our conversations about love, life, goals and fun stuff when the Daddy’s server approached to collect his check. And we overheard him say,
“This is incredibly embarrassing. I am so sorry, but don’t have my wallet on me.”
He held up his iPhone and said, “But I can leave my phone with you as collateral if you’ll give me time to go find it.”
I ran the scenario through my mind: He’d have to pack up the girls, get them into his vehicle, then drive home to go get the wallet, then presumably re-load the girls and drive back to the restaurant to pay the bill. UGH.
The server was very gracious and was about to agree to the hostage phone offer. And then NotMary read my mind and spoke up.
She extended the offer, “Would you please let me pick up the check for you?”
He at first protested graciously, saying it was no trouble to go get the missing wallet. But we knew it really wasn’t an easy thing for him. Not with two girls that age.
I finally found my voice and said, “Please, we’d both be happy to cover it!”
He looked across the empty coffee cup, over the brunch plates and at his two girls. Then he shyly replied to us, “Only if you’re sure. That would be amazing of you.”
NotMary and I both grinned at the server and said, “Hand it over!”.
While the Daddy and little girls put on their jackets to leave, he had both of his cuties say thank you to us. So. Freaking. Sweet.
As they walked away, the Daddy holding each of his girls’ hands, he turned back and said, “Now it’s up to me to do a good deed today, isn’t it? I’ll pay it forward. Thanks again, ladies.”
The annoyance of my dead car battery was forgotten. My heart was full of gratitude and warmth, to be able to perform this act of kindness with my friend.
The feeling stayed with me the rest of the day. The memory kept my attitude light and understanding as AAA tested and then replaced my battery while I stood in a cold parking deck for over an hour.
And that gratitude and warmth bloomed into grace and perspective as my three mile run ended in the most spectacular sunset I’ve seen in months.
Amazing and humbling, isn’t it, how one seemingly small interaction can change your viewpoint so dramatically? Perspective is everything.
Now, go sprinkle that kindness shit everywhere.
Till next time,