photoOn Monday, my friend Michael told me about a trip to Paris that he’d made about a dozen years ago. He arrived at his hotel and tried to check in, in French. Of course, that’s the moment the language failed him, and the lady at the desk took over in English for him—with a bit of an eye roll, he said.

But the story didn’t end there. He got settled and decided to go for a walk through the streets of Paris. Not even a block from the hotel, he stumbled upon a flower vendor selling huge bouquets of fresh flowers. One particular basketful, he said, was about $5 American. He couldn’t believe the price, and told me he just had to buy them. He brought them back to the hotel and presented them to the lady at the front desk. In French, he apologized for his terrible French earlier and thanked her for her help. The lady graciously thanked him, and kept the flowers on the front desk during his entire stay. The other thing she did, which was unexpected by him, was that every time she saw him in the lobby, she greeted him by name and asked if she could help him. One day she offered to get him a cab, another day she made him a dinner reservation, another time, directions to a museum that he should see.

She didn’t make a pass at him, nor he at her. Plain and simple, she appreciated the flowers. And he was touched that his bumbling gesture meant so much.

Sometimes we get so focused on the flow of money, being paid or tipped so we can in turn hand over the money to pay our mortgage or car payment or insurance or get groceries, that we forget to stop and smell the roses.

Gestures won’t make your mortgage payment. But they can help you stop and appreciate life, see it from a new perspective, learn thankfulness, and begin to brainstorm ways that you can pay it forward. You can’t put a price on that.


Tomorrow, the conclusion of The Recompense Series–for now.

My book, Upside Down Kingdom, was taught in a college Humanities course its first year in print. The course examined art, love, music, religion, and the way we treat one another as human beings. UDK was required reading. It’s on Amazon.