How A Co-Worker’s Endless Generosity Made A Difference

During my first day working at Mitchell’s Book Corner, a beloved bookshop on the island of Nantucket, Mary bopped in and introduced herself as a co-worker. I felt myself relax as soon as I saw her smile. Mary delighted regular customers and a bevy of four-legged friends with her warmth. She, along with other wise women in our small town, acted as “other mothers” to young people they crossed paths with. I knew immediately I had found a kindred spirit — I could talk to Mary about books, travel, and good food for hours.

When I went to buy something to eat for lunch, my cheeks turned rosy-pink as I realized I had left my wallet at home. Without a second’s hesitation, Mary lent me $50 for anything I might need: lunch, groceries, and a bus ticket home from work. That first act of kindness was just a glimmer of the generosity Mary would shine in my direction during our time together.

A week after my first day, I huddled with my co-workers looking at the Doppler radar maps on the computer. Hurricane Irene was rolling into town, and I anxiously wondered what to do. I lived on my own in a small cottage on the eastern edge of the island — an isolated location on the Atlantic Ocean. I tried to hide my concern. Mary looked at me and said, “You can’t stay out there on your own like that.” She immediately invited me to stay with her and her husband until the storm passed. As the hurricane went by, I curled up on their couch with a novel, appreciative of a safe home and warm meal. I turned 22 a few days later, and Mary surprised me with a homemade cake at work.

Despite her petite stature, Mary always filled the room with warmth. Her maternal spirit continues to bless me with extraordinary wisdom and bouts of joyful laughter. Mary always says she is grateful for Hurricane Irene because it brought us together. I couldn’t agree more! We all need other mothers like Mary to love us as we make our way in the world.

Image source: Flickr