Meeting warmth


One of the things that make me happy in my garden is a little clump of chives that I love to add to soups or to scatter them on boiled potatoes. They are best in late spring or early summer before hot days dry their juiciness out. I usually cut them a lot at that time prior to their flowering and keep them in our freezer for later use.

I’ve learnt to use more herbs and spices lately and a week ago I remembered a spice mixture which I used to buy years ago. I decided to buy and taste it again so I made a mental note and when we were shopping last weekend in a supermarket I headed for the section where spices were placed. So many small bags in those long shelves… surely you can imagine.

When I came to those shelves, a man of about 35 was standing in front of them, obviously looking for a spice he could not find. I stopped near to him and started to browse the shelves too. Our eyes and heads were moving from left to right and back, from the upper shelf to the lower one and suddenly the man turned around and asked me “What are YOU looking for? I cannot find ginger.”

While I was answering that I was trying to find a “Chicken Polo” mixture, I was scanning the shelf in front of me. At that moment I saw a packet with big GINGER letters on it. “Oh, look, the ginger is here,” I told him and expected him to reach for the packet and leave. Instead he said: “Wonderful! Now I will help you to find yours! What did you say you were looking for?” And he started to go through the shelves again.

I was taken aback for a while and then had to smile broadly. Was he serious? Well, it seemed so. So I told him again that it was the Chicken Polo mixture I was longing for and we started to search for it together. Then I spotted another favourite mixture of mine “Chicken of seven herbs” and I decided quickly to take that. The Polo mixture wasn’t obviously there, perhaps it wasn’t produced any more and I didn’t want to waste the man’s time. Saying “I’m giving up that mixture, here is another one I like,” I grabbed the packet and we said goodbye to one another.

A complete stranger, no more than five or seven minutes of my life, and it was such a strong and emotional experience. So warm and pleasantly human. Thank you, dear stranger, whoever and wherever you are.



  1. What a warm and wonderful story – like you said "only five to seven minutes of your life" and yet it was warm and wonderful. Nice feeling when people help like he did – a little help, certainly "verbally" went a long, long way. Have a wonderful day.

  2. Soosie

    How lovely. Connections like that are to be savoured (an entirely appropriate word in the context) and provide warmth, comfort and reassurance in this impersonal world.
    Thank you so much for reminding us that humanity is alive and still flourishes. (And I often cannot find the spices I want on first or even second perusal of the shelves either.)

  3. Marcie

    Love these kinds of unexpected shared moments. They somehow renew and restore faith in humanity. Beautiful that you were present enough to notice!

  4. Ginnie

    Oh, how wonderful, Petra. I love this so-natural story of warmth and kindness. Random acts of kindness used to be the way of life, I think…or am I just romanticizing the past? Thank you for sharing this!

  5. Sue

    Sometimes, just because, I will make eye contact with another person at a stoplight or in a store and SMILE. It's amazing how rarely people really smile at others. Thank you for sharing this brief, but nice, moment with us this morning.
    Your image reminds me that I need to plant some chives soon! 🙂

  6. Susan

    What a sweet story … I love when things like this happen! Your image of the chives reminds me of how pretty they are and what alot of good uses.

  7. Carm

    Sounds like a very wonderful moment. What a delight it would be to bump into such a stranger…
    The 'Chicken of Seven Herbs' spice sounds quite appetizing.
    Love the image – the colours are so vivid.

  8. Linda

    With the busyness of life today, it is rare indeed to have such an encounter. They do happen, but not as often as they should. Their rarity makes them even more appreciated, though.

  9. Monica Devine

    Sometimes haste blinds us to connections that are right there in front of our eyes. Slowing down and sharing is so simple if we are open and receiving. Lovely.

  10. Maery Rose

    I also love moments like that, connections with strangers that make me feel more a part of the universe I guess. If I can be seen and smiled at and have a moment shared with a stranger, then I truly am a part of this life.
    As for the herbs, the local coop has big jars of herbs and teas on the shelves that you can scoop into a bag. Just yesterday, I went through, reading all of them, even though all I was looking for was pumpkin spice, which I found right away. I am just amazed at things like Nettles and Gun Powder Pearl Tea (a type of green tea that yes, looks like gun powder).

  11. Morningprayerblog

    It takes so little to make a connection. And that connection lasts so long. Recently I've had to write several consolation cards. Sometimes I don't know the person and don't know what to say. Then I remember how much I appreciated people sending just a card with their name on it when each of my parents died. They knew nothing about my parents but they cared about me and I appreciated their thoughtful connection.

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