The nicely dressed elderly gentleman in front of me was engaged in small talk with the cashier at a small, “up north” breakfast spot last Sunday morning. His walking cane was on top of the counter, as he fumbled to return a credit card to his wallet. He apologized for the delay, and I assured him it was no problem at all. He smiled and walked away, very slowly, and with what seemed like a great deal of difficulty.
The restaurant’s back exit has two doors – the first opening to a hallway where the restrooms are located, and the second down the corridor about 50 feet away. My wife and I got to the first door about the same time as the solitary man, and he politely insisted that we go first because “it’ll take me forever to get to the next door. No need to hold you up.”
We walked down the hall to the final exit door, and turned to see the man working hard, trying to pick up speed, but still about 45 feet away. This time we stood and held the door, and again he said, “please don’t wait for me. I’m slow, and you’ll be standing there all day.” My wife responded – accurately – that he really wasn’t moving that slow, and that he was actually doing very well. (I was pretty impressed with his effort, regardless of the results.)
When he finally reached the door, he thanked us for the encouragement. As we wished him a good day, and turned to go to the parking lot, he called us back, stating he had something to give us. Here’s what it was:
Two thoughts came to mind:
- 1) What a nice person! All we did was perform an incredibly simple, everyday bit of common courtesy, and
- 2) Who designed this card?!? Whoa.
Responding that we really appreciated his gesture, we let him know that we intended to pass the card on to someone else who also performed a random kind act. He then handed us a second card to keep, and somewhat apologetically made reference to the typestyles on the card that didn’t “seem to work very well together, but maybe I’ll have them change that next time.” This was pretty funny, since he was talking to two people who were in the creative business, and he had no idea that was the case.
For a split second, I thought about offering to re-do the design of the card in appreciation of his classy demeanor and genuine friendliness. Then I realized that any change could only screw it up. It was great. Just the way it was.