I went grocery shopping after work tonight.

Maybe shopping isn’t the right word.  Meandered.  I meandered through the grocery store tonight, with no particular agenda except to pick up the two things I needed.  I love wandering through stores, seeing what I’ve not seen before, always ready to discover something new to love.

These days I don’t often have the time to meander, so it was an unexpected pleasure to take my time as I transitioned from work to personal time.   As I held two large bottles in my arms, I stood in the tea section of the store, looking for something delicious to catch my eye.  Earl Grey tea with lavender.  Jackpot.

As I reached for the carton to check the ingredients, balancing the bottles in my arms carefully, I saw a man walking in my direction.  The store has incredibly narrow aisles, so small that only one person can comfortably stand looking at the shelves.  Instinctively I leaned towards the shelf full of tea so he could walk by me.

He reached me and then stopped.

I turned to him, a little startled.  He looked at me and smiled.

Silently, he held out a basket for my groceries.  He motioned for me to put my bottles in the basket.

I thanked him, humbled and awed by such a small and beautiful act of thoughtfulness from a man I’d never met before.

“You’re welcome,” he said.  “I like your necklace.”  And then he walked away.

Grace and the kindness of strangers.