Small Gestures Mean a Lot

Josie Leavitt - December 13, 2011

I’ve probably written about how much I love living in a small town before, but two things happened yesterday that thrilled me about small town life.
I was slammed, there was no doubt about it. I reached into my little fridge and pulled out what I needed: an iced coffee. I took a sip and almost gagged. The coffee was old and had turned. Henry and Mary observed the whole episode. And in a blink of an eye, they had gone across the street and gotten me a replacement coffee. And the funny thing is both Mary and I have our own drinks at the coffee shop, so they knew what to order without even asking. I thanked them profusely and offered to pay, and they refused. They were just happy to get me my caffeine for the long selling day.
At the end of the day I had the brilliant idea to zip to the post office to mail out one media mail package. I’m not really sure what I was thinking. There was a line 25 people deep. I was about to turn around and leave when the last person in line offered to mail it for me. I was incredulous. She said she had to mail her packages, and was happy to mail mine. I was thrilled. I was also without any cash or a check. “I’ll just bring the receipt by the store.” Wow! Forty minutes later Anna came by with a receipt for $2.82. I paid her, offered her some sugar plums and vowed to return the favor when I had the chance.
You know, during the season when retailers hit the ground running from the start of the day until well past closing, these little gestures can totally turn a day around and I’m grateful for them; tomorrow I will buy someone a coffee.

6 thoughts on “Small Gestures Mean a Lot

  1. Tegan

    I have a feeling these folks were happy to do all these things for you not just because you’re in a small town but because they know that you have done similar things for them. I bet you open the store early if someone is waiting outside; you let people take books home and pay over the phone if they forgot their wallets; you cover the tax when a kid saved up just enough for the cover price of the latest book in the series they love; and you deliver by hand to a customer who’s recovering from surgery or illness– and ask if they need anything from the grocery store while you’re on your way. At the store where I work, Queen Anne Books, we’ve done all these things for customers we know, and we’re right in the heart of Seattle. I believe that kindness does come back to you; what lovely proof you provide here. Thank you for all the small gestures you do for your community, and thank you for passing on the warm results!

    1. Shelftalker Elizabeth

      Tegan, I love Queen Anne Books just from your comment above. You’re right that community stores do (if they’re worth their salt) do these kinds of things, happily and as a matter of course. We’re certainly not perfect, but it’s so wonderful to be a living, breathing part of a neighborhood — and I think in this day of so much online, impersonal commerce, people do appreciate the humanity of their community stores. Have a wonderful end of the year!!

  2. catherine james

    Josie & Elizabeth,
    I *LOVE* reading your blog. I have a tendency to get bogged down in what’s wrong with the world today and how difficult it is to bring about change. I often find myself searching places to serve as refuges of hope for particularly difficult days. Shelftalker has become one of those places. I am thankful every day you ladies post and I hope you never stop. Long live The Flying Pig!!!

    1. Shelftalker Elizabeth

      Wow, Catherine! Thank you so much for your kind words. We can’t tell you what it means to read something like this at the end of a long (very long) day. We’ll do our very best to keep you entertained and to be hopeful along the way. Thanks again. : )


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