Un Petit Cadeau

So last weekend I found myself in line at my favorite French bakery after scouring the city for hours and hours for a simple watch battery that I just couldn’t seem to find. In front of me in line was a man who had sadly forgotten his bank card, and as the owner rang up his bill the man ended up being a couple of euros short. I quickly ran to the car and grabbed a few euros from the console and gave it to him so he could go on with his day, which of course was not a big deal at all and the right thing to do in any situation. But the incredible and magical thing about this gesture, which continues to make me smile, was that on the way home from the bakery I decided to stop at one final place to see if they had a battery, and as I walked into the store guess who was behind the counter eating his lunch…that’s right, the man who was in front of me at the bakery…he is a watchmaker!

After we smiled and greeted each other I asked him if he had the type of battery that I needed, but after he looked and looked through his drawers, he ended up being all sold out. Just as I was turning to leave he asked me to wait for just one minute as he disappeared in the back, and when he came out again he was holding the exact type of battery that I needed. When I asked him where he found it he just kept saying, “un petit cadeau, un petit cadeau”, but what he didn’t know is that I saw him through the curtain taking off his own watch and removing the battery so he could give it to me as a little gift. Even though I protested he wouldn’t take no for an answer, so away I went with a huge smile on my face and a heart that had grown at least a couple of sizes. On the drive home I reflected on that whole experience, and more than anything it just solidified my belief that small little gestures of kindness will absolutely spread, and they have a beautiful way of finding their way back to you if you pay it forward. 

I also think that there is something particularly special about the holiday season that fills people with a little extra cheer, and love, and thoughtfulness, and in many ways the idea of what we tend to call “holiday spirit” really seems to be an alive and tangible thing. The best part about this time of the year, in my opinion, is the opportunity that we all have to give of ourselves to others, and the chance that we have over the next few weeks to share a little holiday spirit, and to spread some of that tangible and living magic around to anyone and everyone that we come in contact with. 

I guess this little story is my way of casually reminding all of us of the beauty of this time of the year, and with less than a week to go before head off on our adventures I’m asking that you take some time this week to slow down, take a breath, and soak up all the positive energy that is spilling out from our students and from each other…let’s smile a bit more, give out a few more hugs, and spread that holiday magic around! I want to wish you all a safe and joyful holiday season, and a happy and prosperous New Year…the world is a beautiful place and that holiday magic is all around, even in a small boulangerie and an even smaller little watchmaker’s store. Have a wonderful week ahead everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other. 

The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart,
When the full river of feeling overflows;–
The happy days unclouded to their close;
The sudden joys that out of darkness start
As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
White as the gleam of a receding sail,
White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,
White as the whitest lily on a stream,
These tender memories are;–a fairy tale
Of some enchanted land we know not where
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Quote of the Week…
Remember, there is no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end – Scott Adams

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