On New Year's day I was walking in the East Village, just me and the dog walkers, when these trays of still-warm croissants beckoned me from the window of the Mille Feuille bakery. Naturally I went in.
"You're our first customer of the new year. Would you like a macaron?" He pointed to an impeccably shiny, tidy case filled with colorful little cookies.
"That is so nice of you," said I. "What's your favorite flavor?"
"Um..." he surveyed the case, "burnt caramel, pass.."
Before the words "passion fruit" left his mouth I nodded, "Burnt caramel! Ooo please!"
He took it out and handed it to me, and his co-worker jabbed his arm, "She needs a passion fruit too. Give her a passion fruit." Which he did.
"Here's to a really good new year for all of us, eh?" I said, raising my macaron in a toast. Smiles and nods, thanks and well-wishes abounded, and out I went into the day and into the new year.
Those guys probably have no idea just how much that simple gesture meant to me, but it did. I'd like to carry that same gentle kindness and civility with me into the new year.
And for the record? The burnt caramel was a really, really good choice.