I am a firm believer in karma. I think the universe sometimes hooks you up with what you need exactly when you need it, and it’s sometimes the layperson’s job to help. Point of proof: I have a friend who is going through a seriously crappy moment in her world. The details aren’t important, but what she’s dealing with is a full pay grade above a normal level of crap. When crap happens, someone should really take you out to breakfast, so one cloudy Friday morning I threw her in the front seat of my car, and out we went.
We shuffled through the normal roster of choices (diner, dreamy grits joint, Frenchy bistro bakery), and then she mentioned that a local barbecue place had just started serving breakfast. Barbecue joint. For breakfast. Well, their fried okra was up to snuff from what I’d heard, so what the hell. We parked and walked in, the brown and sticky hubcap-covered walls feeling only slightly out of place before the lunch hour, and bellied up to the counter to check out the menu. In front of us in line was a twenty something who had just placed her order. She turned to us and eavesdropped as we tore through the offerings.
A biscuit filled with bacon, egg, and barbecued brisket? Yes. A bucket of Cheddar cheese grits? Yes. A plain cinnamon roll or a cinnamon roll with bacon inside? “You want the bacon one,“ she said, and we agreed. We definitely wanted the bacon one. After much discussion, we ordered pretty much everything on the entire menu to split, and then chatted with our line mate as the counter person rung us up. “You’ve gotta try their doughnuts,” our new friend said. “They serve them warm with the doughnut holes and everything.” Already overburdened, we promised to get one next time, thanked her for her excellent menu guidance, and settled in to a booth.
My friend and I talked, drank coffee, ate brisket breakfast sandwiches, and licked our fingers clean of bacon cinnamon roll. We discussed important and traumatic things, old friendships, and the weather. Then, there was suddenly someone standing next to the table.
“I couldn’t help myself,” the lady from the line said, laying down two Styrofoam containers. “I had to do it.” She cracked one open, and inside was a freshly fried, raised yeast doughnut – still warm – with the hole perched atop the doughnut like a pearl. The contents were dripping with house-made sugar glaze that mixed with the remnants of oil from the fryer. It smelled like comfort. It smelled like love. And it was delivered, completely unprovoked, by a stranger we had met only moments before.
I like to think that I am a good listener, and I even picked up the tab for breakfast, but I doubt either of those things did as much to soothe my friend’s rattled soul as that doughnut. It was a wink from the universe just when we needed it, and a reminder that sometimes karma ain’t a bitch at all. We drove home complaining about our overworked bellies, and promised to have breakfast again soon. Then, without discussing it, we both made the same vow to the universe: We would find a stranger in need of a hot doughnut just as soon as we possibly could.
Back in June, I was hired to write a story about a cancer survivor for the folks at the American Cancer Society. I interviewed a fellow named Brian, a three time cancer survivor, who is, hands down, the most joyful, optimistic, and warm human I've talked to in a long time. I wrote my piece, sent it in, and smiled to think that something as simple as one person's story could make such an impact on my day. Today the American Cancer Society shared this on their Facebook page, and so far it has more than 2,500 likes and was reposted close to 900 times. I'm happy to say that Brian made a few other people smile, too.
Check out the story here.
Hi. I'm Amanda. I like to write, eat, and correct misplaced commas (mostly in that order). I am also happy to do any of those things for you.