London, ON, February 2009 [Click all images to embiggen]
About this photo: We're still feeling a bit green. Thematic Photographic turns cloudy at 7:00 EDT tonight, but I thought I'd sneak in another green moment. You can, too, by heading here.The scene: Angelo's, an eatery/grocery/bakery that's been a fixture in our city for decades. It's a bitterly cold evening, and I've taken the two younger ones out on a neighborhood adventure. It's the weekend, and they've got cabin fever, so we've set off to their favorite place for an experience they couldn't get anywhere else. Oh yes, and we'll bring home some bread.
As they munch their pizza slices - homemade and delicious - I spot the gelato beneath the nearby freezer-display case. I take the camera out of its bag and meander over there. I ask the server if he'd mind. He smiles and tells me to have fun.
As I'm shooting, I'm approached by two women, one of whom says I need to have permission to take pictures. I politely tell her I did and point out the helpful young man who granted me said permission. As she playfully wags her finger at him, I explain why I shoot the things I do - including the usual words like "obsession" and "addiction". She smiles broadly, introduces herself as Caroline, the owner, and we chat about what an amazing place her store is.
Midway through our conversation, Noah wanders over and says he's thirsty in the sad little voice of a deprived eight-year-old. Caroline immediately asks him what he wants - a slushie - and she heads off to make up two for him and his sister. She refuses to charge for them, and continues to banter with the three of us as if she's known us forever. We talk about kids, life in London and the joys of working in a city that offers up moments like this.
I can see other patrons smiling as they watch the exchange, and watch our thankfully well-behaved kids enjoy their surprise treat. If we weren't already fans of Angelo's, this moment would have turned us around. Kindness takes many forms, and we were privileged that night to cross paths with someone who clearly exemplifies it in everything she does.
I see many similar visits in our future.
Your turn: A local business that made/makes a difference. Please discuss.