“Free cookie day!” said an older gentleman with a huge smile on his face. He was standing by the open door to a local bakery my son and I had just passed after going grocery shopping. I smiled back and assumed the gentleman worked at the bakery and must be offering a free cookie to kids that day.
I confirmed that I heard right and he again with his bright, happy smile said, “Yes! Free cookie day for cute little boys in glasses.” I smiled as I looked down at my sweet boy. At just shy of two years old, he was donning his new teal plastic glasses that he has had for only a few weeks now. This little boy is very familiar with the word “cookie.” He was more than happy to take my hand as the gentleman held the door open for my son, me, and our cartload of groceries to enter the small bakery.
The Smell of a Bakery
For almost three years I had been shopping at the grocery store next door. I have passed this bakery many times. It smells like my grandmother’s kitchen after she had baked rolls, pies, or other heavenly foods. That aroma means even more to me now since my grandmother passed away over three years ago. It takes me back to my childhood when I used to visit her house in Everett, Washington. She never ran out of energy to bake homemade treats and I never tired of enjoying them with her.
I have walked by the bakery and taken in a deep breath of the wonderful pastry smells wafting from the doors I think I should buy something there some day. My mouth waters every time, but on the door, it says “cash and local checks only.” I, sadly, never have those on hand.
The bakery was full of cookie choices all at my young son’s level. The gentleman said he could pick any cookie he wanted. As my son’s eyes went wide with excitement, it was then that I realized it was not free cookie day for everyone. In fact, it wasn’t free cookie day at all. And this man did not work at the bakery. This gentleman just wanted to make it free cookie day for my baby boy.
We are all a lot like cookies…
As soon as we stepped into the bakery, my son started excitedly saying “cookie” over and over while pointing to as many cookies as he could see. It was like witnessing a child on Christmas morning. Sprinkled cookies, candy-coated ones, peanut butter, and sugar cookies with frosting. If there wasn’t glass in between him and the cookies, I think he would have been doing snow angels in them and taking a bite of each one! The gentleman and I shared a laugh as we witnessed pure and innocent joy on my toddler’s face.
My son continued pointing at all the many cookie selections. Then his finger stopped for a minute on a larger cookie that was half milk chocolate and half white chocolate. At that moment the man squatted down at his level and said,
Hey! That cookie is like me and you! I bet it is a yummy cookie.
Then he stood up. He asked the cashier to get one of the black and white cookies, a cookie with a yellow happy face on it, and a third with rainbow sprinkles. She did and handed him the bag. He then handed me the bag and said, “Have a great day.” I thanked him and walked out the door. As I was leaving, I heard him whistling a tune as he paid for my son’s cookies and bought a cake (probably to brighten someone else’s day).
The Good in the World
This gentleman made my heart happy. He made me believe that there is still so much good in America today. I loved how he noticed the black and white on a cookie, pointed out those same color differences between my son’s skin and his own, and how together it tasted delicious. What a simple and yet powerful lesson he taught in just a few words. He reminded me that there is black and white in America and together it is beautiful.
My son happily ate every crumb of his black and white cookie on “free cookie day.” He had the biggest smile on his face.
Thank you, kind gentleman. The compassion and love you showed towards my son and me will be something I cherish forever.