Today I was waiting at a Starbucks in San Jose for one of my interns. She was caught first by other people and then by traffic. I waited a while. While waiting, I read some stuff for work (not exciting). A couple of guys rode up on their bikes and sat at a table near me. They were rather punk-rock genre-ish, and in their early 20's, as far as I could tell. As a point of reference, I have never been punk-rock, and it's been a while (10 years?) since I saw my early 20's, AND I was dressed in a "I'm a grown-up," dress, scarf and heels outfit. One of them even had a quasi-mohawk. (My brother called it a faux-hawk, which I had not heard before and amused me.) Anyway... they had nothing to do with teacher education and I paid them little mind.
Eventually my intern showed up and dropped off her stuff, at which point I started packing up. As I turned to go, Mr. Faux-hawk said, holding a folded-up piece of paper, "Um, excuse me, but could I give you something?"
I was a little surprised but said "Sure" and held out my hand.
"I wrote this for you, but promise me you won't read it until you get home--" he cautioned, holding it out. I nodded, and he gave me the mysterious piece of paper.
I didn't actually wait until I got home-- I read it as I drove out of the Starbucks parking lot. It was a poem he'd just written--obviously for me. And while I would most definitely NOT label him as an Undiscovered Poet Laureate of the US (you see, it's not getting quoted here), it was very cute. AND there was no phone number, no email, nothing.
Why do I love this story? Because so often, people do nice things in an attempt to get somewhere with someone. He handed me a poem and that was it. One of my friends says often that she hates the "Practice Random Acts of Kindness" bumper sticker, because it's generally harder to practice specific acts of kindness with people you know. 99% of the time I agree with her--people you know well are often much harder to be kind to than strangers...but sometimes it's really nice to have someone do something for you (like writing a poem) and expect nothing in return.