Friday, March 19, 2010

One Kindness Really Can Make a Difference

By Abby Reilly

It was the first warm weekend of the year and everyone was out and about in town. I was working at the bagel shop and the warm weather had brought in all kinds of customers. We were short-staffed and there was a line of customers to the door waiting for bagels and coffee.

It was one of the most stressful weeks I’d had in a very long time. My boyfriend had been admitted to the hospital earlier that week, and I had mid-terms and papers breathing down my neck. After class I would race to the hospital to visit Greg and then rush to work. I was working extra that weekend because my co-worker had to attend a funeral. I had to work doubles both Saturday and Sunday and I was physically and mentally exhausted.

The bagel shop was so busy that day we almost ran out of bagels. We close at 3 p.m. and I was trying to catch up on all the cleaning and work that had to be done before I left. I filled the whole sandwich bar and put covers on all the cream cheese containers. I mopped the floor, finished the dishes, and counted the tips. Around 2:45 two boys about my age strolled in and I thought to myself, can’t they eat somewhere else? We were closing in 15 minutes and I had just put everything away!

One ordered a sesame bagel toasted with bacon horseradish cream cheese and a medium coffee with cream and sugar. The other got a sesame bagel toasted with hummus, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and extra Swiss. I rang them out and told them to have a nice day and prayed that no one else would come in and bother me before we closed.

Five minutes later a couple more people straggled in last minute to grab some lunch, I was getting so annoyed. Then I saw the boy who had walked in earlier, the one who got the bagel with hummus and Swiss. I thought, dear God, what could he want now? He better not be complaining about something. He waited patiently in line and when it was his turn he said, “I just want you to know that I order that bagel often and that was the best I’ve ever had. I realize that you were closing soon but I just wanted to thank you for putting the extra effort into my lunch anyway!”

I stood there, completely surprised. “Thank you,” I said.

He walked out. His compliment gave me the extra energy I needed to finish my job and leave there with a smile. I was glad that someone had appreciated what I done so much. It gave me a boost of confidence and helped me go on with my day. All because some kid went out of his way to tell me he liked his sandwich.

I believe that a little kindness can go a long way and if everyone simply said thank you or complimented others more often the world would be a much better place.

Abby Rielly grew up in Kinderhook, New York. An art major at the University at Albany, State University of New York, she was inspired to write this story by her weekend job working at Bagel Tyme.

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