Friday, July 22, 2011

The Power of a Paper Napkin

I took a walk just now, down to the coffee shop to get a beverage. Beautiful afternoon, sun shining. I was in a cheery mood, happy for my little place in the sun along our tree-lined street.

Inside, I was happy to chat with the baristas about the way the drinks are made, and what variations were available. (Did you know that you can get a Chai Frappuccino? I didn't...!)

Good thing I got there when I did. By the time my drink was ready, there was a line almost out the door.

Standing in line was a woman holding an ice-cream cone. I noticed that there were little drips heading over the edge of the cone, due shortly to impact the little paper wrapping (and then, no doubt, her politely manicured fingers).

As I walked toward the exit, I reached for a paper napkin, and with a demure flourish, proffered it to her as I walked past.

My friend and colleague Ivan Temes says, "Care enough to take action." I remember these words often.

Who would have thought? Her joy was complete. A squeal of delight, a smile of gratitude, a "How did you know....?"

And it was just a paper napkin.


  1. A few days ago a woman was coming out of a store as I was going in. She said very enthusiastically, "Oh, I love your shirt!" and then was gone. I was just wearing a pretty basic black shirt, but she made my day. It's these little things that count!

  2. Yes, it's amazing, isn't it?! Giving the gift of one's attention, even for a moment, is more powerful than we know. Thanks for stopping by, Mel!