Yesterday, a small gesture by a friend and co-worker was a true Thanksgiving moment. I had hoped to take the day off to finish my Thanksgiving dinner preparations, but with several deadlines looming I headed for the office. My mind was full of tasks I needed to complete – items needed from the grocery store, cleaning the house, would the new tablecloth I ordered arrive in time? what time to put the turkey in the oven – and I was already anxious and preoccupied.
On my way to drop Alex and Baker at daycare I stopped at a gas station. A co-worker, Joan, happened to be filling her car at the next pump. We smiled and greeted each other.
As Joan replaced the pump handle, a man standing nearby with a small gas can in hand asked her if she could help him out.
“I don’t have any cash,” Joan responded, opening her car door. I thought it was a polite way of turning down a panhandler. But then Joan reached into her car for her purse, and said, “But I can put it on my card. How much do you need? a couple of dollars?” The man smiled broadly and nodded. As Joan headed towards the cashier, she asked “How ’bout a cup of coffee too?” The man, who was wearing just a thin jacket against the cold, eagerly followed her inside.
I finished filling my gas tank, and fished a few dollars out of my purse. I went inside and quietly handed them to Joan as the man poured a coffee cup. “Thank you,” she whispered.
As I drove away I had tears in my eyes.
Later, Joan stopped by my office. “I got him a banana and a sweet roll and an extra cup of coffee for the road,” she reported. The man was driving to Charlotte, she had learned, where I expect he was joining family for Thanksgiving.
I felt uplifted the rest of the day.