Some days forever change your perspective.
“You got a card,” said the receptionist on her rounds about the office, tossing a small pink envelope with no return address on my desk at lunchtime. Busy working through the hour on a difficult project, I could have easily lost it amid the mounds of scattered papers I call my desk.
By the time I was finished, I’d added another wave of my debris to the stacks but the little pink corner peeked out among the mess as if it had climbed itself to the top not to go unnoticed. I grabbed it with my left and gulped a sip of cold coffee with my right.
Nobody sends me cards at work. A pink one at that.
It being just a few days ‘til Valentine’s Day, I sniffed it for perfume but it smelled just like a card, so I tossed it back and went to lunch.
The day had been merciless at our little non-profit that helps people stay housed, fed and plugged in to utilities at critical times of their lives when nobody else cares. Much of my morning had been spent on such cases but I returned from lunch with a salad and what I thought might be some better ideas how to help these people. A dozen more urgent memos had made their way onto my desk during the 20 minutes away but the corner of that same pink envelope had again risen like a phoenix as if were begging to be opened. I notice things like that. My desk may be a fire hazard but I keep snapshots of it in my mind for times like this and I knew that card wasn’t buried where I had left it just minutes earlier.
No return address, I opened it.
“I just want to thank you for all you do for me. Seems we never find the time to say it enough but thank you, I will always remember this day.”
That was it. No salutation. No signature. No return address. Nothing.
Easing back in my chair puzzled as a forensic investigator, I was attempting to recognize the penmanship or some other telltale mark that might reveal the sender’s identity, when it hit me. So many names, cases and contacts I have made over the years. I suppose it could have come from any one of them, or all of them for that matter. I let my mind sort through the register of memories and in doing so, I smiled, realizing the absolute brilliance of this one anonymous pink envelope author.
He or she wasn’t satisfied with just paying it forward as so many get noticed doing these days. Buying someone’s coffee or meal, pitching in a buck when someone comes up short at the checkout, all are wonderful displays of a caring humanity, but the power held in this tiny, pink, anonymous card trumped them all.
Its anonymity had the power to change the world, or at least one person’s perspective of it.
For the remainder of the day, while doing my work, I imagined names and faces of possible senders and individual reasons for their thankfulness. It could have been pretty much any one of them. By 6pm when I walked out of my office for home, the entire experience had changed me.
The cluelessness of that lunchtime mystery had put a smile on my face that remained all afternoon.
That brilliant anonymous author of the pink envelope never meant their identity to be known.
They meant to be Anyone or Everyone.
I tucked the pink card from Anyone in the corner of my bulletin board, turned out my light, and said goodbye to the staff in what had become a lovely ending to a difficult week.
I began my weekend with a smile and a stop at the store to pick up postage and a few blank little pink cards of my own.