“Here are donut holes, for you.”
The slender Asian woman behind the counter smiles and hands me a white, waxed-paper bag with a dozen or so sugar-glazed, cloud-soft donut holes nestled in the bottom. I accept it and carry it out to the car with my other bag of donuts — the ones I’ve selected for purchase — my heart doing a happy pitter-pat.
It’s not just the donut holes that make me happy — although they do make me happy; MJ’s Donuts are a local favorite — it’s the way they’re presented to me. What she says. The way she says it: “Here are donut holes, for you.” Not: “Have some free donut holes!” or, even, “Here are a few extra donut holes to add to your order,” but “Here are donut holes for you.”
It’s the for you that gets me. Like she was saving that bag, off to the left of the cash register, just for me. Never mind that she’s said the same thing to every customer who’s bought donuts this morning — and that she says it to me every time I visit the shop. None of that matters. In that moment, as she’s offering the donut holes for me, something magical occurs: She somehow knows I was coming, so she kept this small stash of deliciousness aside just waiting to surprise me with it. To delight me. To add something a little special to my purchase, knowing it would make me smile.
It’s a tiny connection, a trick of language performed by a woman whose thick accent clearly defines her as a non-native speaker. But it makes all the difference in how I walk out into the world and view the rest of my day.