Friday, July 01, 2005
Random acts of kindness
In New York it seems that it is rare for people to do random acts of kindness for others. Even simple courtesies, such as waiting for people to exit an elevator or subway car before entering, are often forgotten. Imagine how surprised Serach and I were when someone not only performed a courtesy, but actually expended effort and money for our sake though they did not even know us - but just to be gracious and kind. For our anniversary, Serach and I went to Abigael's on Broadway and 39th in Manhattan. When we walked in, there was an older couple in front of us who were greeted by a young man who said, "Happy Anniversary, Mom & Pop!" and gave them hugs. Serach then said to the couple, "We share an anniversary!", to which they asked if it was our 42nd also. Wow. When I mentioned that my grandparents' 62nd anniversary was coming up this Sunday, the man mentioned his parents' 70th was coming up soon. Even greater WOW. The meal was excellent, the service impeccable - I am impressed when the waiter is not just responding to your requests or even anticipating them; but actively paying attention to see if you need something. I looked up once when we finished the main dish and though he was at another table, they were still deciding what to order, so he excused himself as soon as I looked around once and came over to ask what we needed. Awareness of clients' needs is everything in a service job, and those who are extremely aware deserve to be rewarded. After ordering dessert, we were waiting for a couple of minutes when a waitress - not ours - brought over a dessert with a sparkler in the middle, and wished us a Happy 1st Anniversary. We were pleasantly surprised, and questioned whether someone else in the restaurant knew us and mentioned it. She then informed us that the dessert was complementary, and that it was covered by another couple celebrating their anniversary. At this point we laughed, understanding what had transpired, and when we paid our bill we walked over to the elder couple and graciously thanked them for their gift. Class is an ideal that has diminished in recent years - it is a pleasure to see that some people are still keeping class, and kindness, very much alive.