Reading 29 Gifts in my Hyundai Elantra as I wait for my friend Steve for coffee at the Café Espresso in Portsmouth, I read that Cami Walker, the author of 29 Gifts, feels it better for the gift giving to be unplanned and spontaneous. Last night I lay in bed wondering where an opportunity to give might present itself this Saturday. I like putting that lens on the day. Clearly my reticular activating system (the brain’s system to consciously focus attention on something) will have me looking for opportunities all day long.
At the Café Espresso, I get a dry (i.e., no butter) everything bagel and decaf coffee for four dollars. It turns out today we have the waitress sent from heaven. For a chronic coffee sipper, I love a waitress ready with coffee before I have to look around and signal for it. As the universe does, at seven in the morning it has handed me my gift giving opportunity. Rather than just leave my tip on the table, I want to thank her directly. After Steve leaves, I go up to the counter and ask the hostess for the name of our waitress. Kiri, she says, and signals her over. I press a $5 bill into her hand, beaming, You were terrific. You’re upbeat and always ready with coffee spills out in a rush. Wide-eyed, she smiles even bigger. You are just a pro, I add. Speechless, she waits for my next move which is a final thank you, letting her return to sharing her gifts this Labor Day Saturday morning in September.
Here’s one vote for not planning the daily gift. Looking for gift giving opportunities, I am looking for the good throughout my day. And if you live in or come to Seacoast Maine/NH, it’s worth the drive to Portsmouth, NH for coffee or breakfast at Café Espresso. Specifically ask for Kiri for your waitress. Hold on to your socks because she’ll knock them off with her service and friendliness.