Not long ago, I was waiting in a long line at my favorite bakery, which makes some amazing scones. The delicious pile in the glass case dwindled quickly as those in the long line ahead of me snapped them up, until there was just one perfect beauty remaining — and one woman ahead of me. To my everlasting joy, she chose a croissant, so when I got to the counter I pointed to the last scone and declared, “I’ll take that.” No sooner had I spoken than the fellow behind me cried out: “Hey, that’s my scone! I’ve been waiting in line for 20 minutes!” Which he had been — behind me.
I surprised both of us when I didn’t respond with, “Sorry, it’s mine!” Instead, I countered: “Would you like half?” After a moment of shocked silence, he accepted my offer and one-upped my spontaneous act of generosity. “Why don’t I buy another pastry and we can share both?” We then sat down on a nearby bench to break bread. While it turned out we had almost nothing in common — from our jobs, ages, political views or marital status — we’d shared a moment of connection and a simple kindness. I felt happy and, frankly, wanted more of that feeling. – Steven Petrow