one saturday this fall, i chanced to meet and be part of a conversation with a lovely and quiet man, probably a little older than me. what we talked about must have been pretty general and of little significance, because i can't remember the topics. what i do remember is the fact that he was actively interested in whatever it was we had to say. he asked questions, and was a very good listener.
before he left, he presented us each with an intricate origami dollar, crisply folded into a beautiful symmetrical object. mine was a heart, backed on a felt square and carefully packaged into a tiny sleeve. at the back of the package, a card with a greek proverb, a shiny sticker, and a tiny jeweled bauble. clearly, this man was intentional in his presentation.
we were so taken aback to receive such a lovely gift from a stranger. we tried to pay him, but he declined. we offered dollar bills so he could make more, and he told us it wasn't necessary. he wouldn't give us his name, only asked that we enjoy his small gift.
i stood the dollar heart on my desk here, and thought about the chance encounter for days. months later, i am still in awe of all that transpired. why would a stranger do such a thing? not only is he spending a great deal of time making these for people he doesn't know and likely will never see again, he's giving away his money a dollar at a time. obviously, his simple reward is in the delight and enjoyment of his recipients.
a few weeks ago, as i inserted my card into a gas pump a few towns away, i found something blocking the slot. i removed it, and was elated to find another origami dollar, packaged in the same manner, this one folded into a tiny shirt. my glee was apparent as i pocketed the treasure and pumped the gas, grinning like a fool. how lucky was i to encounter this man, not once, but twice? by the time i was finished, i knew how to repay this man. i returned the shirt dollar back to the gas pump slot in hopes that the next person would find in it as much delight and enjoyment as i had.