Saturday, December 24, 2011


My wife and I were at our first stop on our annual Christmas shopping day, making our purchase at Bath and Body Works. After Nadia completed the transaction, I told my wife, “She was the nicest person we’ll meet all day.” My wife was skeptical, as we had a long day of shopping ahead of us and would interact with more than a dozen clerks, associates and wait staff. I suggested that we “make it interesting,” so we put a $10 wager on my prediction.

As the day went on, we visited a number of stores. Some associates were helpful, while others ignored us or brushed us off. By mid-afternoon, we had come full circle geographically and returned to the first mall for a late lunch. As we ate, my wife admitted that I had been right about Nadia and that I had won the bet.

Then, she had a brilliant idea. “You don’t need the ten bucks,” she told me. “Why don’t we walk over to the coffee shop across the street, but a $10 gift card and present it to Nadia?”


We purchased the card and returned to Bath and Body Works. Nadia, who was ringing in a customer’s purchase, saw us and immediately asked, “Oh, no, what did I do wrong this morning?” I replied, “Nothing. We just want to speak with you after you’re done with that customer.” During the next five minutes, as she completed the customer’s transaction, Nadia looked nervously at us periodically and her co-workers looked at us suspiciously. When the customer was finished, she remained out of curiosity to see why we had returned to the store.

With Nadia’s undivided attention, we told her about the bet and presented her with her $10 gift certificate. She was overwhelmed and nearly broke down in tears. Nadia is a single mother of two teen-age boys, balancing family life, a full-time job and school. She told us that no one had ever done anything like this for her before.

Afterwards, my wife and I agreed that it was the best $10 that we had ever spent. And now we've started a tradition that we’ll continue not only on our annual Christmas shopping day, but on other occasions as well.

Imagine – a mere $10 gift card can boost a person’s confidence and make her feel really good about herself. It doesn’t take much of an investment to make an impact on someone’s life. I can’t believe that we didn’t think of this years earlier – but I’m grateful that it didn’t take us years longer to realize this simple truth. And I’ll never walk around again without a $10 coffee gift card in my wallet to recognize someone’s kindness or effort.

Bill Stuart, a health insurance executive and writer, and his wife Chris, a rehabilitation manager and small business owner, live south of Boston with their four children. They travel, though, so they could run into you any time, anywhere. Will your random interaction with them be worthy of a token of appreciation?

Bill we certainly hope so. You inspired us!
Bill can be reached at
source: here
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