Monday, November 26, 2012

Why Panera Has My Business

This deployment has really forced me to remind myself how kind people can be.  I love believing the best in people-- I'm an inner city school teacher. I couldn't do my job if I didn't believe that people are generally good. 

But time and time again in the past 5 1/2 months, I have been surprised and humbled (I know I say "humbled" a lot, but truly, there is no other descriptor) by the generosity and kindness of others. 

My sisters and I stopped at a Panera for lunch last Sunday. Afterwards, we (of course) stopped at the bakery counter. I ordered those delicious pumpkin pie and cranberry walnut bagels with the intent of sending them to John as a surprise.

Because I talk about John incessantly to anyone who has ears and wants to listen for half a second, I told Andrea, the cashier, that I'd be trying to send them to Afghanistan. "Oh, wow. That's a new one," she said.

She handed me my bag and said, "I threw in a cookie. Let me know if it makes it there okay." I thanked her, smiled, paid the bill and went on my happy way.

In the car, I discovered that she had given me two extra bagels and not one cookie, but a dozen.

For some, the gesture may have been small, but this random act of kindness was absolutely epic. It's easy to feel forgotten by the larger world during a deployment, especially since it so often feels like time is standing still and that everyone else is carrying on with their lives. The kindness and generosity of spirit that Andrea exhibited reminded me that so many people are pulling for each other-- regardless of the situation. What a wonderfully poignant reminder of the goodness of people.

(And by the way, the bagels made it to John fresh, albeit a little smooshed from my vacuum sealer.)

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