One day, several months ago, I was walking through the market on my way home from work.
As usual, I stopped to admire the baked goods (my weakness). I began chatting with the lady behind the table who introduced herself as Alison. I told her I had no money on me then, but promised to be back next Wednesday, as she was on my normal walk home. She smiled at me and said money wasn't important that day. She said I should take a cookie anyway.
It was the first time since moving to New York City that I had witnessed such radical stranger to stranger kindness. It was also one of the most delicious cookies I've ever had.
On my word, I went back next Wednesday and brought my coworker with me. I was growing to love Alison, our conversations, and the delicious treats (her carrot cake is to die for).
I work at a church and one thing my office began working on a few months later was a revitalization of the weekly "coffee hour" event that takes place directly following service. The event is designed to have congregants drink coffee and join in fellowship with one another.
By this point, I had been visiting Alison each week, still having not forgotten her kindness many months before.
All this in mind, I pitched an idea to my boss: We should have catered baked goods for the launch of our new coffee hour.
And so it went that yesterday morning, I greeted Alison at the church and helped her set up some of her delicious desserts as she catered our brand new coffee hour event and was able to visit with hundreds of our church congregants.
All this from a free cookie.
Tonight, I am grateful for friendships formed on city streets and kindness that continues to pay itself forward.