I gave a guy a buck on Friday and what I got in return was a little bit of quiet shock, a plaintive question and some sincere words of thanks.
No, it wasn’t a panhandler or even anyone who asked for a handout, or actually, anything at all.
Here’s what happened. I was attending, for work, the Autorama show at Cobo Hall and pulled into a nearby parking garage. It was one of those where you needed to park two-deep. There was an attendant on each level to direct you to the next spot and take your keys in your vehicle needed to be moved if it was blocking in someone wanting to leave.
The attendant on Level 5, where I parked, took my key and placed it on hook #5. “Five on five, is you…that’ll make it easier to remember,” he said. He seemed very serious about his work. When I returned I noticed my Jeep Wrangler had been moved, and moved to a better spot, right in front of me. “Five on five,” I said to him and he smiled and gave me my key. At the last second, I decided to stick a buck in his hand. Wasn’t really sure that’s what you do, but it happened.
At first he looked shocked, then quietly asked me, “what’s this for?” I told him I appreciated him taking care of my car and it was just a small token to show it. “Besides,” I added, “I just want to. I’ve had a good day. So should you.”
“That’s really nice,” he said, “thank you so much. No one does this.”
I tell you this story not as a means of self-aggrandizement. It was only a buck, which is what I had in my pocket at the time. I tell you this story to put the thought out there that amid the anger, frustration, disappointment and dismay ruining the national morale, if we think more about helping each other through even the smallest gestures, we can pull through together. The fact is that even a simple gesture of appreciation has a long shelf life in the recipient’s psyche. It might be just enough emotional fuel to get them through a bad day, or run of tough luck. Makes the benefactor feel pretty good too. I’m so glad that on a cold Friday in Detroit, my buck stopped into the right hands.