When times are hard, it is easy to forget that nice things human beings do for each other are what matter most.
There is a Chinese restaurant where my husband and I have been taking our two younger children perhaps once a month for the last six months. We also order dinner combinations from their to go menu and have lunch every now and then. Both owners, husband and wife, don’t speak fluent English and our conversations have been a mix of basic English and lots of smiles.
Soon after we started eating at their restaurant we noticed that a couple of extra spring rolls or fried shrimps had been added to our order. We thanked them with our own accented “thank you”.
We have been away for six weeks this summer and yesterday stopped by to order a to go dinner for four. When the order was ready the mother and her daughter handed us a box holding hot and steamy brown bags. The young girl then gave me a smaller bag with a smile. I smiled back and thanked her, persuaded it was the bag of sweet and sour sauce, soy sauce and fortune cookies.
When we put the food in the trunk of the car, parked a few blocks away from the restaurant, I realized that the bag held four containers of green tea ice cream and four plastic spoons. We had not ordered any dessert.
I kept one container for the road and I ate it alone, savoring each teaspoon with gratitude. Not only is green tea one of my favorite ice cream flavors, the gift was also one of the kindest things someone had done for my family recently.
Kindness is even more special when it comes from people who barely know each other and yet treat each other with human warmth.