the power of simple gestures

A week or so ago I returned to my car in the parking garage downtown to find a little yellow flower tucked in behind the windshield wipers. Startled, I glanced up the rows on each side to see if other cars had been recipients. None had, so my first assumption was that someone I knew had made the gift. But then I realized that currently almost no one would recognize my newishly-purchased car, either by exact model or certainly by license plate number, and the one person who might – namely my landlord, who lives upstairs – is not someone I can imagine doing a thing like that.

So I’m left with a mystery. My car was parked that day at the end of a row, adjacent to the path along which people walk to get from one of the streets bordering the garage to the other. It makes sense then that someone picked the flower somewhere, maybe from just outside the entrance where there’s a little garden, then had the spontaneous idea to offer it to the first car they saw – which would’ve been mine.

In any case, I was truly touched by the gesture, and all the more because it came from someone who didn’t know who I was. So much of the time we find ourselves interpreting events as gratuitous negative judgments upon us – well, or at least I do… Here suddenly, out of the blue, was a gift from the universe – precisely because neither giver nor receiver knew the other. There was something so free, irreducible, and pure about it.

When I returned home I put the flower in a glass of water and set it on my desk, where it thrived for nearly a week. And every time it caught my eye it made me smile.

These little actions of the heart really matter in the world and we should all do them more often! I bow to the person who performed this one, whoever and wherever you are…
big-yellow-flower-1u-1(image courtesy of