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A Small, Beautiful Gesture

By Harry Pearse

Today I received a beautiful gesture from a lovely lady that I helped carry some books for. It was totally unexpected, and completely gorgeous. It was a $10 Starbucks gift card.

Although many of you may think it’s not that significant, and you may think I am being sarcastic, I’m not. Many would see this as a tiny and insignificant gift, but for me it was as good, if not better, than getting a bought a car. Truly.

Photo by Sebastian Baxter Harry and Danielle reenacting the moment when he received a Starbucks gift card
Photo by Sebastian Baxter
Harry and Danielle reenacting the moment when he received a Starbucks gift card

I wasn’t having the best of days, and I was trapped in a vault of emotion, where I had shut myself in and tossed the key. I was hiding out and didn’t think anyone would know where I was. But then, with a beautiful smile and a calming aura, that lady, Danielle, who works in the library, walked in and said, “Harry, I just want to say thank you for helping me with the books last week.” She handed me the gift. I was so caught off guard because I wasn’t even in this reality at that time. It was like an angel had opened that vault door and guided me out. After she gave it to me and walked away, I sat there and looked at the “thanks, this one’s on me” written on the gift card, and it brought a tear to my eye. This wasn’t because of my assured coffee addiction or that for the notion that I was getting a ‘free’ coffee. It was because it was so delicate, so innocent and unneeded, yet Danielle took the time out of her day to think of me and go to Starbucks just to get Me a gift.
I did not expect it in the slightest to be rewarded for doing a nice deed like carrying books upstairs; I don’t deserve such a lovely gesture for something so small.

This to me, and many religions would agree, was a God-like action; it was purely divine. Danielle didn’t know that I was having a bad day, how could she? And she didn’t know that something so small would make such an impact on me right then and there. But with such an unselfish and caring manner, she thought, “that was nice of him to help me and I want to thank him.” Utterly stunning.

A small gesture that in a beautiful reality is a tremendous one. Someone might need a gift, and not a materialistic gift, but something thoughtful and easy, which is totally unexpected, that doesn’t make the other person feel like they need to get something in return.

I really hope you don’t buy a gift for someone expecting something in return, because that’s you wanting to gain or capitalize, making your gesture completely invalid. Instead, just get a gift to say thank you. This truly gave me hope, at a time when it felt like I was on the brink of losing hope in many people, that we have humans in this world who don’t just think of themselves.

As Christmas is approaching and this glorified buying of material is ever so ‘present,’ I think we should all think of, firstly, who we want to buy a present for, and secondly, why we want to buy them a present.
I think we have lost this notion of buying someone a gift because we feel forced to, because that is the norm. But why? Why do so many of us just buy gifts don’t actually mean anything? Just giving for the sake of it.

When I was a young British boy still being carried up the stairs by my mummy after falling asleep watching television (which was only a couple years ago), my mum used to read me a book. And in that book it would say this after every page. “I will love you forever, I will like you for always, and for as long as you are living my baby you’ll be.”

I haven’t seen my mother for months, and I haven’t spoken to her too much since I have been away, but I know what I am going to get her as a gift for Christmas. I want to get a plaque that says that quote on it, but instead of baby, I’ll say “Mummy.” And I know that she would appreciate that over a pair of earrings or a necklace. Because that small quote has meaning behind it. It will give her some nostalgia of a time before she became an empty nester when my brothers and I left home. She will love it.

For me, this is what a present or gift represents. Ok, Danielle’s gift to me wasn’t a piece of nostalgic beauty, but it was an unselfish beauty for someone she barely knows, and that in its own right is perfect. So please, take a step back and ask yourself, are you unselfish? Would someone maybe benefit from a small, beautiful gesture? Really think about the gifts you may get for people during the holidays; it would be wrong if you didn’t, because then we are no longer thinking of individuals, but of robots who follow a system. After all, we can all be beautiful, can’t we?

Now Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone, writing for you was a pleasure this semester.

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