Thursday, April 10, 2008

of sour grapes and godiva chocolates

Much appreciation to all the people who left supportive comments about my family situation. I am especially grateful to Nina, who wrote:

People who maintain a reservoir of Zen calm while a relative is in the ICU probably have something wrong with them anyway.

This sour-grapes mentality is precisely what I needed. Thank you Nina!

Lately I keep remembering an incident from a few years ago. It was a small act of kindness, but I've been thinking of it almost daily.

The incident also involved a relative in a hospital. The illness and person in question were different, but there were similar harrowing qualities of waiting in a hospital room.

After an exhausting 24 hours in the ER, my dad and I stopped at a shopping mall on the way home. I went to a Godiva chocolate store to buy a gift basket for the hospital workers.

The saleswoman came over, as I stood before a shelf with small and large baskets. She asked if she could help, and what kind of basket I was looking for.

"I want one with variety," I said. "It's for doctors and nurses in an ER. Something they can grab quickly as they're walking by."

She paused, then walked to a different shelf behind the register. "You probably want one with both solids and cremes..."

We discussed whether to get one giant box or two medium-sized boxes. I decided on two, for variety. I paid. She wrapped up the basket in plastic with a bow, whle she watched me write the card. My dad stood off to the side, stepping in only once with tips for the card.

We finished the transaction. As I turned to go, the saleswoman reached into the display case and pulled out a chocolate truffle, then another. "For you and your dad," she said, "on the house."

It really stayed with me, this touch of kindness in an otherwise purely professional transaction. The saleswoman probably forgot about it years ago, but I doubt I ever will.

I hope that I showed enough appreciation at the time, to encourage her to do it again for others in the future.

9 comments:

John K. Lin said...

Nice blog posting with the right sentiment.

Kind of reminds me of a blog post I think I sent you a while ago.

Waiter Rant / Tapestry
http://waiterrant.net/?p=517

"I hope that I showed enough appreciation at the time, to encourage her to do it again for others in the future."
- People like her are pretty self-motivated to do those kind of things without the need for external validation, but of course is always appreciated.

pokai said...

very cool act of kindness. check out this touching story about zappos: http://tinyurl.com/2s2uro

Anonymous said...

Such an interesting story (I always enjoy reading vignettes about your life). I agree - this type of action invariably leaves an indelible impression and I'm amazed why (even if only motivated by profit) this is such an exception from the standard way of doing business. A relatively small act of goodwill would leave you with a lifelong favorable impression.

KE Liew said...

I like how she used the word "probably". It just shows that she's unsure. In fact, with over billions of people on earth who has all kinds of personality, character, values, etc., I guess she realise that "probably" is the choice of word to use for that circumstance.

I know for a fact that emotions doesn't necessarily have to be portrayed to be "real". How can one equate actions with intentions, ethics, morals and emotions is ridiculous IMHO. Observe, think, and see the irony.

Godiva? You guys sure have the suckiest chocolate by Belgium standards. If you ever drop by, I'll show you the best!

ThomasHan said...

Thanks for posts like these to remind us of kind people like these.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Come on...

Making Chocolate of any style is so easy.

The Belgium "Style" is so so easily replicated.

You just have to conche it defferently.

It is not as complex as wine where luck plays into the mix.

It just so happens that Americans prefer and purchase a LOT of American style chocolate.

Because back in the day we could afford a LOT of sugar.. :-)

InWantOfBeingMe said...

That was a really sweet gesture. Though small, it will remain forever.

Anonymous said...

Nina is right in some way. In most cases emotions show compassion. Lack of emotions may leave impression that person is hard-hearted and just does not care. But there are different people out there and some of them are different from crowd.

Every disease or any problem can be characterized as misbalance or disharmony. It brings everybody around in emotionally misbalanced condition as well. It does not help to improve it and actually work opposite. Disharmony is getting stronger by getting support from others and if you just let it run loose it may lead to hysteria.

There are some people who look at trouble situations at that angle and they will bring as much tranquility as they can to help bring situation in order. So from one hand it may look like they don’t care but their state of spirit actually helps a lot. What they really don’t care about is getting recognition or reward for what they do. They just glad it helps and brings harmony back in place.

Your chocolate story is sweet :)

Chocolate giFt baskets said...

The gift tin is a smaller and less expensive gift of 18 assorted Ghirardelli squares in a tin wrapped up in a pretty bow. If you want to discover what these chocolates are all about then the sampler gift basket is for you. This basket contains a variety of their bars and squares.