The sweetness I found at the donut shop….
Heading down to the salty south tomorrow, which means meeting up with Linds, it also means that I am stocking up on some things she misses most around here, things that you can’t get in Knoxville and taking them down to her. One of those things being the donuts she has come to love. Yes, I realize that it’s weird getting donuts for the woman who has been the backbone of my exercise regime but sometimes things don’t make a lick of sense. Now we all know my relationship with donuts is a love/
hate BIG LOVE relationship. I ordered ahead and was relieved to see the boxes were taped up when I arrived!
The busy city streets were like a high voltage Cincinnati version of the video game Fast and Furious! I walked a couple of blocks to the bakery that most of the time I try to forget even exists, it’s so close to my office! I am aware of the cold, it’s bitter outside and old man winter has not been shy in letting us know his presence in the Queen City these last few weeks. I feel like I am in a game of Frogger as I dodge cars to make it to the other side of the street where the giant pink donut hovers over my head. My cheeks are stinging and I purposely exhale as I pull the door open, walk in and with purpose deeply inhale letting the sweet smells of sheer donut love send me into a euphoria of fried dough bliss.
I am greeted by a jovial woman who was just about as sweet as the donuts themselves. We chat about my order, where the donuts were headed and then I asked a simple question as she was ringing me up. “Could I add a cup of coffee to my order? It was a crazy morning and I never got around to having my cup.” She looked at me, smiling she handed me a cup and said “Sweetie, your coffee is free this morning.” I reached out to take the cup wondering if my coffee was free because I had just bought the motherload of donuts or if coffee was just free? The perplexed look on my face did not go unnoticed, as she told me that a woman had come in when they first opened and said it was so cold out, that she would like to buy coffee for anyone who ordered it that morning. I know this area well. I know the people, the struggles and those who have nothing walk the streets in search of many things and sometimes a hot cup of coffee is the best thing that can happen to them. I did not want to take the cup of free coffee if it meant someone went without who could not afford a cup. I already felt the wetness on my eyes, and I told her I wanted to pay, I COULD pay. “Anyone who wanted coffee, was to get their coffee free this morning”, she responded. I dug back into the pocket of my coat and pushed the wad of cash toward her. “Well, I can’t just end that circle of kindness by receiving and not giving, can I? I am sure there are some folks who might want a donut with that coffee.” She let out a robust “AMEN!” as she scribbled on a small notepad. After I filled my cup with the dark steaming liquid, I asked if I could take her picture and she kindly obliged.
I left that place and practically glided down the street, I felt like Ebenezer Scrooge at the end of a Christmas Carol. I said a cheery “HELLO” to the scary looking construction foreman, and as I crossed the street I saw an elderly woman coming at me walking her dog, who was old and grey around the muzzle but all snug in a sweater that looked like she might have knitted for him or her. She smiled at me and I winked at her telling her to have a great day. I was seriously high on this moment of… well what do you call it? Joy? Connection? Realization? I don’t know, but it felt good. So that person, the one that sometimes finds the best thing that happens to them is a cup of coffee, that person…. is me.
No matter what Webster says kindness is a verb, it’s active, it’s infectious and I highly recommend it.