There is a woman named Gloria who comes in every day and gets a cup of ice water. Nearly every day she comments on the coffee or the muffins and says, “I’ll have to try that some time…” She never does. And at least once a week she rummages through her coin purse and looks for coins because, “I want to tip you!”
“Put your money away, Gloria,” I say every time. “You just got water. You don’t need to tip me.”
Really, I’m scared that she’s not eating and she needs money to do that.
On Valentine’s Day, my husband brought flowers and chocolates to my work. There were 13 roses in our wedding vase, sitting on the counter.
“Oh! Would you look at those flowers!” said Gloria. Then, abruptly, “Can I have one?”
I was a little taken aback. It’s not every day that somebody asks you for your Valentine’s Day gift. “Well… sure!” I said, so I plucked one of the roses out of the vase with a little baby’s breath and wrapped it in a paper towel for her.
“Oh thank you!” she said. She smelled it and carried it out with her.
Now, every time she comes in, she gives me an update on the rose.
“My rose still loves me!” she says.
“That’s good,” I say. It’s been about two months since Valentine’s Day. My own roses wilted a long time ago.
“It is still so beautiful!”