The sun was setting on one of those rare snow globe days that would have sent Currier and Ives back to the drawing board.
My daughter Alex and I were fulfilling our annual Macy’s pilgrimage to see Santa. Our mission accomplished, we paused for a long moment to have one last look at the sparkling snowy spectacle that was Santaland.
Perhaps we appeared lost amid the throng of milling, squealing children. A young woman dressed in a green and red velvet elf costume came up to us. It had to be near the end of what was surely an exhausting work day; nevertheless, she approached us gamely.
“Did you come here to see Santa?” she asked, poised to once again point out the line.
“We came here to see his elves, and you are one of Santa’s elves. We came here to see you.”
“Yes. You work as hard and give your time and your attention and your patience and your love to these children every bit as much as the jolly gents wearing overstuffed red suits who sit in those cozy little houses do. So we came here to say thank you to you, Caitlyn.”
She regarded us for a second and wiping a tear from her eye leaned in and gave us both a hug. I whispered “Merry Christmas,” and my daughter and I continued on our way.
Alex looked up at me. “What just happened?”
“We just spent one minute of our time giving her something that she might actually remember for years. The most noble thing anyone can do is to help someone, even a total stranger, feel appreciated, feel somehow special, even for a minute.”
As we threaded our way out of Macy’s, Alex took my hand.
“She gets it,” I thought.