Out of printer paper. I ask if they sell it at the post office. No. Then the nicest thing! The man gives me half a pack from his own supply.
What made it all the more striking was that a complete stranger then tweeted me to let me know their heart had been warmed by this story; and, when I told them the story was true, they replied that this was good to know.
It is good to know these things happen. It's so important - vital even - that not only do we know these things happen, but that we acknowledge them as well. There's a statistic somewhere that says bad news gets repeated nine times, good news only three. Why? When the sweetness of these small gestures stays on our tastebuds far longer than any tripple-whopper-wham-mac could, and provides us with a far richer nourishment....
But I'm not here to preach. I'm here to share another simple kindness shown by the very same post office today.
My plan was to head for the park, where I intended to stroll in the sun awhile with the Elegant Hound, stopping en route at the post office to send a parcel to a dear friend in the States. I'm more a pockets than a bag kind of person so, armed with just keys and a twenty pound note, off we trotted.
Not long afterwards we stood at the post-office counter. 'Eleven pound fifty-nine, please love,' said the younger gent, whereupon I happily placed my twenty in his tray. 'Er, eleven pound fifty-nine, sorry love.'
It took me a few moments to realise my twenty pound note was in fact a ten, so utterly convinced had I been otherwise. 'Oh, I, um, I thought, sorry, I don't, um, have....' But rather than sit in smug satisfaction at my confusion, or pursed-mouth irritation at my mistake, he simply beamed at me and said: 'It's alright, love. Bring it in next time. We'll get this off for you today.' Then stuck on the stamp and beamed at me again.
What's more the older gent, sitting at the window along and dealing with another customer, paused mid transaction to lean back and beam at me also. 'Oh yes it's fine, dear,' he added. 'Just bring it when you can.'
How lovely is that?! Especially when you know, as they both do, that I'm only in the post office three, maybe four times a year.
What else could I do? I beamed back at the both of them. Then everyone else in the post office beamed too and it became one of those priceless sunny-afternoon moments of true British bonhomie.
Anyway, it might seem an odd thing to blog about. But I really liked what happened; which was basically one person deciding to opt for goodwill and the simplest solution and, in doing so, causing a whole bunch of other people to smile.
And I know, of course, that my local post office is not the only place this happens; nor am I the only one who appreciates these things.
But that doesn't stop me from wanting to repeat it nine times :-)