I was on my last shift for the day and we were just about to close when a woman and a young boy walked in from the street.
They were obviously tourists from the way she was holding a map in her hand and the tired, worried look on their faces.
They grabbed a table, scanned the menu and immediately started pointing to pictures of food while smiling and nodding their approval. That’s when I realized oh-oh…language barrier at table No. 2.
But thanks to charades, pidgin English and my highly nuanced understanding of food ordering, I finally figured out their orders.
As I was serving their food I noticed how gentle and refined the mother and son were. And the simple but stylish pant suit the woman was wearing, which she matched with a gorgeous necklace, added to the impression that these were good, decent people. “What a gorgeous necklace,” I said while pointing at it and smiling. She lightly touched it and shyly smiled her thanks.
After the meal, which they totally wiped out, they brought out their map and started speaking to each other in low tones. They seemed to be at a loss and kept looking out the window worried that night had fallen.
The mom looked at me helplessly, and instinctively, I knew they didn’t know how to get back to their hotel. I asked “where Hotel?” At first they were confused but when they realized what I was asking they showed me the hotel’s address on their phone.
I knew the area. So after they paid, I accompanied them outside and in true New York fashion, I whistled for a cab which came careening down the street. I told the driver where to take them, and as they were getting into the car, I slipped a wrapped slice of pie into the young boy’s hand to take home.
I was about to wave goodbye, the mother hurriedly thrust something into my hands and whispered “thank you”. As I looked down, I saw it was the beautiful necklace she was wearing. I was floored, amazed that such a seemingly innocent encounter could elicit such a generous response. Before I could argue, they were already in the car, happily on their way to their hotel.“
This story simply proves that one kind deed begets another. And that we should all try our best to pay it forward.
By the way, this is how the necklace looked like...
The "Tree of Life" Pendant Necklace with Rhinestones