I gave the man an apple. Then here’s what happened.
I lead a pretty isolated life. (It’s my fault, but that’s another story.)
I had just come back from a Costco run. I was tired. I just wanted to unpack the trunk full of groceries, go inside, and lie on the couch. It didn’t help that the truck in the garage made it hard to put things on our storage shelves.
I was carrying an open bag of apples when I saw the day’s postal carrier bringing the mail. A thought just came into my head: he’s got to do this for eight hours.
With barely a thought, I said, “Excuse me, I just got these. Would you like an apple?”
I think he emerged from an drone-like state and said, “Why, yes. Yes I would.”
I held out the bag and let him pick.
I saw him tuck it into his mailbag.
Suddenly, I felt good. I was surprised. It felt good.
I was still unpacking groceries when he appeared again, on his way back to his truck. “Thanks again. Have a good day,” and I could tell that it wasn’t just a rote politeness. I felt good again, and I smiled (something I don’t do often).
It was a moment of grace, genuine, totally unrelated to having an iPhone in my hand. (Moments of grace never involve iPhones.)
You could say it was a good deed, and it was. But that’s beside the point; it was a moment of human connection.
I let a car go in front of me, and I wave when someone does the same for me.
I ask the cashier how busy her day is.
Often, I will never see that person again. Sometimes the gesture isn’t appreciated. None of that matters.
Regardless of their experience of the moment, I have done my part. I have reached out. I have made the world, even if only a bit, a better place.
And I am less alone.