Gelato & Jake

There is nothing so rewarding to one’s taste buds than a really good dish of gelato. This Italian ice cream is made from milk rather than cream, has fewer calories than ice cream and has a deeper, richer taste. As in all things, there are some gelatos which are better than others, and some flavors that are unique to the particular establishment. We especially enjoy the gelato from a local business called Paciugo. The owner is usually at her shop and is most pleasant.Croatia 2013 071

We first discovered this treat while in Italy some years ago. Besides popping into coffee shops for a shot or two of espresso or a cup of cappuccino, we made it a point to grab a dish or cone of gelato every chance we had, which was quite a few ! So, it is a good thing to see  this dessert being offered in more places in the states.

What’s gelato have to do with Jake? And, who is Jake, anyway? To be honest, I don’t know much about him. We met Jake the other night at a local restaurant, California Pizza Kitchen, in Leawood. Jake was our waiter. He is a pleasant young man with a great smile and a hearty sense of humor. Although we didn’t talk all that much, we developed a congenial rapport and had a few chuckles together. When it came time for the dessert question, we told Jake that we were saving ourselves for gelato at Paciugo which is only a few buildings away from the restaurant. He must have thought we really like gelato to skip CPK’s assortment of desserts !

As we were leaving Cheryl asked him what kind of gelato he liked. This caught him by surprise, but he quickly recovered and gave us a couple of choices. We told him we would be back, but would enjoy our gelato first. I’m pretty sure he was questioning our sincerity. Well, Cheryl and I savored our selections as we talked across a small table inside the gelato shop. Then we grabbed the chocolate delight for Jake and walked back to the restaurant. We came into the side door which is near the kitchen and take-out counter, and immediately saw Jake. We handed him the gelato and told him to enjoy it. A great big smile came over his face and he thanked us ever so much. His manager and co-workers smiled as they witnessed this exchange. I hope he liked our selection.VACATIONS 042

What surprised me about this small act of generosity that my wife initiated was how truly wonderful I felt inside. The axiom, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” is, oh so true. I relate this brief story with the realization that some may think I am shining a spot light on us, but that is not the case. I share this experience to encourage the giving of ourselves without expecting anything in return. I don’t know why I was surprised by my feelings because I have always felt deeply gratified whenever I have blessed someone or been blessed by others or have witnessed others being blessed by others. I believe Jesus stated this dynamic repeatedly while he walked the streets of Galilee.

The reality is that I know so many who give of themselves regularly and without fanfare or recognition. They do so with unselfish motivation while reaping the sheer pleasure of knowing they have touched the lives of others. These ‘paying it forward’ acts of kindness get played out every day by thousands (if not millions) of people all across our nation and throughout the world. Ours was a rather small act, but it made Jake smile and that was worth the price of gelato and a walk across a parking lot. Thank you, Cheryl, for sharing this opportunity with me. We sure had a good time. I’m ready for a trip !   Ciao

P.S. I wonder if CPK will start serving gelato anytime soon.

Act of Kindness

On my way to the office this morning I drove a route which passes in front of an elementary school, and at its busiest time of day…drop-off-the-kids time. I usually don’t drive this particular route due to cars backed up for a blocks and traffic intersections jammed. However, it was meant to be as can be witnessed by these photographs. The quality is not the best as I shot though my not-so-clean windshield, and in a hurry. At first I was perplexed because of my limited view, but then I was pleasantly surprised and encouraged by what I witnessed.5-13-14 001What is going on here? A man with a cape. Is there a bull before him? Toro, toro!5-13-14 002No bull, just ducks ! This kind man was herding mama duck and her ducklings across the busy street. As the drama unfolded, I couldn’t help but notice how gentle he was despite the urgency of the situation.5-13-14 003As mama looks on, this good Samaritan makes sure each duckling reaches the safety…5-13-14 004of the grassy area, and away from the vehicles which could have spelled doom for these little guys. Notice her counting each one to make sure all made it safely across the street! Mama seemed grateful for his assistance. Due to the traffic congestion I didn’t have an opportunity to stop and tell this man that what he did not only helped some ducks, but made my day. This was no random act, but a deliberate one. Whoever you are, may you be rewarded for such an act of kindness.