They were dressed in simple black skirts and white t-shirts emblazoned with a colorful, youthfully exuberant logo, Cookies for Kindness. They looked like, and probably were, mother and daughter, Mom in her early- to mid-30s, daughter probably 10.
Each carried a fabric bag, like those used for shopping, loaded with small plastic snack bags with two little chocolate chip cookies in each, as well as a miniature version of their Cookies for Kindness logo (and a disclosure about the contents of the cookie, to warn off anyone who might have a relevant allergy).
No email address. No phone number. No website.
As people came out of services, the two greeted each stranger with delight and said, simply, “Would you like a cookie?”
A few declined, looking perplexed.
Most smiled back in surprise, said “thank you,” took the little bag and went on about their normal routine of chatting with fellow worshippers or heading for the parking lot. Many munched a cookie along the way.
This was the response these two young woman were looking for. Smile, take the cookies with just a little delight at the unexpected treat, and go on your way.
No sales pitch. No proselytizing. No bait and switch.
Their goal: to hand out 1,000 bags of cookies on that one day.
They were getting close.
How much of a difference could two chocolate chip cookies make (or, if you prefer, two cookies times one thousand)? Who knows?
Did it matter to them? Did they have to measure the impact? Were they doing a careful ROI on their endeavors?
They simply were pushing back, with joy that was unbounded, on the darkness and the hatred and the bitterness and the fear.
They decided they wanted to do something, something that was simply, undeniably kind. Period.
Their reward was the delight in the eyes of young and not-so-young at the simple offer of something sweet from people whose expression was sweeter still.
Okay . . . true confession here. I spent way too much time thinking through the angles on this, when I encountered this pair and their Cookies for Kindness.
I read the info in the bag carefully. I chatted them up a bit to try to determine their ulterior motive. I even thought (alas!), could there be something in these cookies . . .
Welcome to the age of suspicion.
After a few minutes, I shrugged it off. If they were up to something, there wasn’t much I could do about it. Too many cookies already had been dispersed, too much delight had been ignited, too many children of all ages were munching the sweets and savoring the surprise.
And I realized that there was something else of which there was way too much.
Too much fear. Too much suspicion. Too much gloom.
I munched my cookies, shook my head and smiled.
Later, I would Google Cookies for Kindness, looking for a website, an organization with which this delightful pair was affiliated, a hidden “cause.”
As with Googling anything, I had plenty of hits about books of cookie recipes, Facebook pages, parables about cookies shared, even psychological studies about the effects of cookies on our attitudes and behaviors.
As for the specific logo, the “organization” these two represented . . . nada.
So maybe, just maybe, a young mom and her young daughter, concerned about the darkness of the world in which they found themselves, struck upon a simple, even silly idea, to bring just a little light.
If that’s all it was . . . well, it worked.
I don’t think they’ll see this blog, my little bid to reflect the light they have shown on the lives of a 1,000 people over the weekend.
Of course, I don’t think they were in this for recognition, nor for that vaunted, documented ROI.
They did it because they wanted to, because, perhaps, they also needed to. They wanted to say to the world, we can still care for each other, overcome our fear and our bitterness, and savor the sweetness of the great gift of life which is ours for just a fleeting moment.
Why waste that moment?
Share a cookie.