July 17, 2015

A Conspiracy of Delight

Filed under: Feel-Good Story of the Day,MiscellAnnia — Tags: , , , — Ann @ 6:46 am


Several months ago Neal became enamored of a certain pastry sold by Sonoma Market — a “cakey” doughnut with lavender-colored icing containing bits of blueberry. We started calling it “the Purple Doughnut.” The thing is, whoever delivers the Market’s goodies every morning provides just one Purple Doughnut, and it must be very popular because, though we’re at the store several times a week and Neal checks the pastry display-case regularly, it’s seldom there. Since I’m up and about earlier than he is, running errands or heading out to work, I, too, started checking the pastry shelves and whenever I scored I’d sometimes tell the clerks, who know us, that I’d been happy to find the rare and elusive Purple Doughnut to take home to Neal.

This past Monday I stopped at Sonoma Market on the way to work. As I peered at the pastry shelves trying to spot the tell-tale lavender icing, a deli clerk rushed over to help me. I explained I was looking for the special doughnut to surprise someone. Though his English was fragile, “treats” and “surprises” are universal communications facilitators and he smiled at me triumphantly, pointing towards the hot bar across the aisle. Puzzled, I walked over and, sure enough, set out among the other breakfast offerings was a sampling of their baked goods — including the Purple Doughnut. The clerk seemed immensely pleased with my gasp of delight.

Four days later I stopped in to buy coffee on my way to work and, though it was later in the morning and the chances were slim, I checked for the doughnut. Immediately, the same deli clerk who’d helped me on Monday approached. “The doughnut?” he asked with a big smile. I nodded and started to walk over to the hot bar but he stopped me — “No, no, no. Come, look.” He pointed at the pastry display-case and explained, “Here. So no one could take it. Look.” And he showed me that he had tucked the doughnut way in the back, where it was hard to see. He’d been saving it for me. My child-like glee must have been contagious because he was grinning from ear to ear as I lovingly placed the treat in its white bakery bag.

As I checked out and was fishing for my debit card I told the clerk what I had in the sack so she could ring up the right price. “That’s a doughnut in the bag, Diane. A one-holed doughnut.” She broke into a huge smile. “Oh, is this the Purple Doughnut as a surprise for Neal?” “YES!” I exclaimed, astonished, and we both laughed. She said, “He’s going to be so happy.”

All the way to work I thought about these people, certainly with busy lives and busy jobs and probably families, and their own worries and concerns and priorities and maybe even aches and pains (we all have them), yet the deli clerk put time and thought and energy and heart into helping me get a silly doughnut to surprise someone, Diane bothered to remember that I liked to bring Neal his favorite doughnut, and both were rejoicing with me that I was able to do so.

I really, really, really love people. Maybe even as much as Neal loves his Purple Doughnut.

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