She'll Take Them Up On A Tray

Marcia McGreevy Lewis


© Copyright 2023 byMarcia McGreevy Lewis

Photo property of the author.
Photo property of the author..

On July 14, 2021, the NY Times ran an article,
Restaurant Shuts Down for a ‘Day of Kindness’ After Customers Make Its Staff Cry.”

A friend sent me this article which says: The verbal abuse from rude customers got so bad, the owners of a restaurant on Cape Cod closed for part of the day to treat its employees to a “day of kindness.” Ramping up from zero to 60 post-pandemic, the restaurant wasn’t able to take a breakfast order because it wasn’t open yet. An indignant customer berated an employee, making her cry. That led the restaurant owners to shut down. The local restaurant association expressed its solidarity with the shuttered restaurant by starting a “Please Be Kind” campaign.

Restaurant customers who need patience with the people preparing and serving their meals are merely one example of the attitude adjustments we have to make as our economy adjusts to the demand for workers who are slowly returning to the workforce. Manpower is in short supply to stock our grocery shelves, repair our cars and staff our libraries. The importance of treating service workers and others with kindness and patience, especially in the face of increased demand for their services as the economy adjusts, can’t be overstated.

To handle this new reality, kindness is the key. One person may not be able to influence the national political scene or ebb the tide of climate change, but that person can make love visible. She can let the person in front of her in the grocery line with a few items go first, tip harried servers, let in the car signaling to get into her lane and show less judgment. If not finding kindness, he can be kind.

A few years ago I was the recipient of touching kindness. My husband and I were about to sell our house and move to a condo when my friend Romney offered to stage our house. We accepted gratefully, thinking she’d prod us to toss some outdated furniture. My husband had previously antiqued chests in burnt orange with gold accents and chairs in olive green. Those items went to Goodwill, as they should have gone long ago. Then Romney sent furniture that had cluttered the rooms to the garage. Much of that furniture ended up at Goodwill as well. It took her distanced eye to get us to see its lack of appeal.

Soon Romney arrived with decorative items: ceramic Italianate soap dispensers, fuchsia towels to enliven a boring beige bathroom and robin’s egg blue drapes that gave the living room new life. The house perked up immensely and sold quickly.
When we moved into our condo, Romney was the first to arrive with fistsful of bright red, orange and yellow congratulatory flowers that made our new house begin to feel like home. In the ensuing years, she has brought me items she uncovered while shopping like the yellow and blue porcelain bowl that now adorns my living room. When cleaning out her mother’s house after her death, Romney loaded my arms with red and green Christmas candles, a delicately-painted teapot and a Blue Onion-patterned vase that perches on my living room shelf. She expected no reimbursement again, but does “small things with great love, as Mother Teresa did.

It’s not like Romney has nothing else to do. This highly attractive, mid-sixties woman with a warm smile that lights up her luminous skin and alert eyes is completely booked. She is as beautiful inside as she is on the outside as she shares her warmth and wisdom. Romney engages with an active family, manages several properties, plays a mean game of tennis, contributes to a blog, gets the plays she writes produced nationwide and has published three books. She also initiated annual get-togethers for several of the groups to which she and I belong. Hoots of laughter ring in the hallways when she hosts white elephant exchanges.

Romney’s husband and mine were best friends until my husband died recently. She supported me as I maneuvered through the shock of his death and reintegrated into life. She has included me in gatherings and vacations and always has a good book suggestion or recipe to impart.

Romney disappeared during the pandemic and is only now emerging with caution. The other day she mentioned to me the article referenced above. It’s natural that she would share an article on kindness. That article led me right back to her. Now that she has reemerged, the world is a better place as she spreads her kindness.

Duchess Goldblatt, author of Becoming Duchess Goldblatt and someone Romney has followed, sent this recent Twitter feed: “You may leave your likes and kindnesses and hugs and kisses here. I’ll have them brought up on a tray.” Give them to Romney. She’ll take them up.

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