I sat outside a coffee shop nursing a flat white while I waited for my car’s broken seat belt to be replaced. The morning was warm and sunny, but my mood wasn’t. Not only was I spending half my day waiting for my car, before I left home, we’d been hit once again by the neighbour’s overspray.
But as I sat there, an elderly couple came shuffling serenely along the sidewalk. They were dressed to the nines in coordinate cream-coloured outfits, and walked arm in arm.
The gentleman addressed me as they approached.
“Excuse me. It has been over a year since we were here last. I believe there is another seating area like this one on the other side?”
His smile extracted the first of the day from me.
“Yes,” I said.
“And I suppose they put a beautiful young girl like you right here to attract business, eh?”
(For the record, I am 45, and my predominant hair colour is grey—he was either nearly blind, or being incredibly kind. I believe it was the latter).
“Well, you have a lovely spot here to sit and do your paperwork,” he concluded. (I had a story in front of me that I was editing).
“Have a lovely day!” I called to the pair as they shuffled into the cafe.
Later in the afternoon, I stopped by the roadside to buy cherries. The woman in front of me was trying to use her eftpos card to pay, but it wasn’t working. She had no cash, so she turned away, disappointed.
After the gift the elderly gentleman had given me in the morning, what could I do, but buy her a bag of cherries?