When you dare to give a little
We had only been at our table for a couple of minutes when an elderly, white-haired woman was shown to a large table by the hostess. She was alone, but she asked the hostess if she could add two more chairs, as there would be seven women joining her for her birthday.
A few more minutes passed and the waitress came over and asked her if she would like something to drink. She ordered an iced tea and she sat there, still alone, sipping slowly on her tea, hoping it would last until her friends arrived.
As time wore on, I wondered if she was delusional and she was just hoping some of her friends from bygone days were going to join her, and they had no clue it was her birthday or that she was sitting there waiting for them. I thought about saying something to her, but something stopped me, so I just smiled at her. She smiled back.
When the hostess came past after almost half an hour, I asked her if I had heard the woman right when she said it was her birthday. She said that was what she said. I took the copy of House Call to the Past out of the clear plastic pocket on my purse and asked the hostess if she would take it over to her after I signed it. The hostess smiled and said she would be glad to. I signed it, leaving a little message and wishing her a happy birthday in it, and sent it on its way. As the hostess handed it to her, she told her "That's a famous author who eats in here a lot. She wanted you to have this."
The woman's eyes lit up like a night sky on the Fourth of July. She thanked me. I told her I hoped she would enjoy it. She said she had just gotten acquainted with reading again. Her eyesight had been failing her for several years, and not being able to read was the hardest thing for her. She had surgery about a month ago, and she said, "When I rediscovered books again, it was like a long lost friend."
And then two of her friends came in. She introduced them to me, by name, like we had been friends for years. She showed them the book, the autograph, and the list of my other books on an inside front page. They asked where they could buy them, and I told them that the local Barnes & Noble store had all of them.
When we left, it was just the three of them. They all bid us farewell, all chattering gaily about the thrill of meeting "a real live author" and promising to buy some of my books.
Talk and promises come easily, I thought as we left. And then, the next morning, a gal I know from the Barnes & Noble store called me. She said there was a group of eight women who came in last night, looking for my books. One of the women said she wasn't buying any, and she told about the incident at the restaurant. "I have my own copy--and it's even autographed!" she boasted loudly.
Each of the other seven bought a different book, agreeing to pass them around to each other as they finished their own book.
Remember the old adage, "Give until it hurts"? I don't think that's possible. Every time you give, you get something in return. It's sort of like trying to outgive God. Some things are just impossible!
Make it a great day, and give something to somebody, even if it's just a smile. You might be surprised at the returns.