On Monday, Tammi walked over to my desk and said, “Can I look in your tea box? None of mine are working for me right now” She looked wiped out and a little bit sad.
I keep a stationary box on my desk stuffed to the brim with at least 10 different kinds of tea.
“Sure” I said as I passed it over, “Are you feeling sick”?
“No” she said. “I’m just a little blah and I only have 2 flavors of tea to choose from. I know you always have a good stash”
Well, she looked more than blah and I watched as she chose a bag of Lemon Ginger, thanked me and slouched away. This was not the spunky, cheeky Tammi I knew. Not the girl who all office “bros” had accepted as their own. This girl was foreign and dismal. We may not work for the same department and may only see each other once a week, but this was not the vivacious blond who was one of the first people to welcome me to the company.
She was still on my mind that night. I was home making my evening cup of tea - coincidentally Lemon Ginger - and I wanted to do a little something to make her smile. I started going through my home tea stash, grabbing 2 bags from each flavor or brand, collecting about 16 bags in all. (Yes, I know I have a tea addiction.) I found a clear snack bag, stuffed the tea bags in and tied a ribbon to close it. I scrawled a quick message on one of the note cards I keep handy:
“From someone who knows the importance of having a good stash”
The next day, I dropped the tea and the note on her desk. I had forgotten about it until the afternoon when Tammi found me in the hall, smiled and grabbed me in a hug as big as her tiny frame would allow. I tower over her by 6 inches and outweigh her by at least 40 lbs. It was awkward…for me….not a hugger.
She looked embarrassed and sheepish as she said “Thank you soooooooooo much. That was nice to find on my desk” She looked like the old Tammi; little like Sporty Spice….if Sporty Spice looked like a blond elf with a massive, dimply smile.
The moral of the story is: a little goes a long way. In this day and age, every gesture needs to be bigger and grander, more Instagram worthy. If it doesn’t rate a selfie, why do it? A friend had planned a big surprise for his wife’s Valentine’s Day gift. Knowing he was always about the big, expensive gifts, I convinced him to try a silly, inexpensive, romantic idea instead. You know what? It was a bigger hit than many of his other ideas. She loved every single minute of it. I should know, I was there.
Little gestures are built into the foundation of my marriage. It’s hard for me to put into words how Chris and I work these into our daily lives because over the years, it has become so natural for us. I know he hates to clean the coffee maker. I always make a point to clean it before I leave for the day. I do this because he makes me coffee every morning. I love it when the bed is made. He could care less if the bed ever gets made. But, he makes it because I love it. When I go away for a weekend, he always puts fresh sheets on the bed for my return. When I do the grocery shopping, I’ll grab a tub of his favorite ice cream or a chocolate bar to surprise him. He brings me local magazines home from work. I lay out his work clothes when I know he’ll forget. He unloads the dishwasher because I loathe it.
None of these gestures cost a thing (ok..$5 for the ice cream), but in the big picture they are priceless. They show thoughtfulness, caring and love.
Let’s think back to the tea stash I gave Tammi. How much did that gift cost me? Maybe $5.00. How much time did I spend planning and executing? Maybe 5 minutes. How much of an effect did it have on her day? Huge, massive, monumental…it brought back the old Tammi.
Less money and less time spent on a gesture means you will have time to touch more people with a little bit of kindness!