My seat in the office is near a vacant desk. Nobody knows why there’s such a desk but it’s become the go-to place for homeless ownerless belongings; water bottles, pens, extra handouts … you know, the sort of stuff that appears after a meeting and nobody ever comes back to claim? It’s the height of irony, really, that this desk gives all manner of stuff a temporary home but itself is unused for its original purpose of being somebody’s desk.
In late September, somebody put a box of cookies on that desk. Accompanying it was a stack of small bowls and a note that said, ‘Help yourselves! Have a great day!’ The other riff-raff items had been placed in a box on the floor and this treat now had pride of place in the middle of the desk. You can imagine the delight and confusion. Nobody knew who had done this and, while I sat close to this desk, I never saw who the benefactor was either. There were many smiles that morning.
A week later, a box of tea bags appeared. Then a large bag of freshly roasted nuts. Then some fruit tarts. Then a tin of chocolates. While we eventually learnt who had brought some of these items, nobody ever found out who put the cookies there! Or if anyone did, they never told me.
So, to the person who started the little hospitality table – my thanks to you. Your act of generosity and kindness brought more than cookies – it paved the way to other contributions, and our colleagues have stopped to eat, to chat with each other, and to catch a breath. We have slowed down our manic dashing about to say ‘hi’ and to give ourselves a little treat. Thank you, also just as much, to everyone else who brought something to share.