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The Smallest Gifts

As a child, the trip to the grocery store was the highlight of my day. Maybe it was because I was allowed to go out, run around and contemplate adventures. Or perhaps it was because it made me feel like a princess, just for a little bit.

There was one particular store where my mother took us.  I never knew its real name. Instead, we used to call it Alshabab (the young men).  It was run by four brothers. They were different from one another, but they were all very kind.

Each time, my mother would ask me to help her find some item on her shopping list, just to keep me busy. After I had finished running around the shop, one of the shabab would bend down on his knees so he was at my level, and slowly pull something out from behind his back. A sweet. It was always a sweet. He would look at me with searching eyes as though trying to spot what reaction his gesture had sparked.

Syrian candy by Trilli Bagus

I wouldn’t take it immediately – I was a little shy. I would look for my mother’s approval, and each time she would say it was OK. At that particular moment in time, I felt like a princess.

Today, I have a younger sister who is only four years old. Her excitement over the smallest of gifts helps me appreciate the simple things in life. As I look back, I understand the power the shopkeeper’s act of kindness possessed. It was not only a means to make a child happy, but a way to brighten up his day as well.


Candies by it is elisaCC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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