"Do you like doing things for people?" I asked a friend.
"Yes, most of the time," she replied.
"Most of the time?"
"Well, I love to do things that are unexpected. I like to do little things most people wouldn't think about doing," she said.
"But why did you say most of the time?"
"Well, sometimes after doing those little things people take advantage of you. I mean, they expect you to do it again. They ask you to do it. That's when I don't like it."
It was odd that I had this conversation. This just happened to me. I too love to do little things. I will pay for a meal card for the people in the office every time we have a meeting there. Not a big thing. It's a little thing. $5.30 will pay for almost five lunches. Hey, big spender!
But it's not the amount, it's the idea, the fact that I did something.
I also ran out a few weeks ago and bought a bag of animal crackers for a friend at work. She was having a tough day and not very happy at all. I drove down to the Wal-Mart and picked up a huge bag for under $2.00. Her smile was worth it.
But this week she said, "Bob, we ran out of crackers. We love them so much." I didn't want to do it. I smiled and she persisted. I finally admitted, "It's different when I do it because I want to, but now you are trying to make me go get them. It's not the same."
So that voice inside of me struggled with it. I tried and won out over that feeling and stayed right there in the office a while longer so as to avoid caving in. That is until I overheard her talking. The boss was having "one of those days" and unfairly chose her to point the finger at her in front of everyone. She was almost in tears when I heard her sharing the moment with a coworker. I had to go.
It’s about five miles to the store from there. I had to park at the extreme lower end of the lot. It was bitter cold—in the single digits on Tuesday. But when I got out of my car I stepped into summer. How?
Seagulls. Yes, there were three or four gulls flying above me. I heard one cry out as it glided on the cold, brisk air above. I immediately closed my eyes and I was transported from a strip mall parking lot to the seashore at Wildwood, New Jersey. I pictured in my mind that I was walking along the boardwalk, and the birds provided the perfect background sounds. "Ahhhhhh, summer!"
I hurried to the cookie aisle and found what I was looking for. Rushing out to the register, I walked through the bakery and stopped dead in my tracks.
"I'll get some bread to feed the gulls. Just like Wildwood!" I rushed out the door and walked down to the other end of the lot.
A bird flew over and I motioned that I had food. It hovered above waiting patiently for the treat. I ripped open the bag and threw a slice in the air. He grabbed it just like they always do. I looked around for the other three birds and...out of nowhere...without exaggerating...at least thirty gulls came to see what I had.
"Screeeechhhh...Caaaaaawwwwww!" They crashed into each other as they dive bombed me. I was overpowered by the number and finally dumped the entire loaf on the ground and ran to my car. I was laughing and so full of excitement. The tip of my nose was frozen and the tears of joy running down my face burned against my dry, cold skin. "Summer! I love it!"
So what 's my point here? Every time you do little things, big things happen.
Upon my return I expected her to be thrilled that I went out of my way. She hardly acknowledged me. I shrugged it off and left. I did what I thought in my heart was the right thing to do.
She got the cookies. Me? I got to feed seagulls at the Jersey shore in early March, and I got a glimpse of better days ahead.