One day a few weeks ago, as I was staring out the sunroom windows into the middle distance, ostensibly “working,” I spotted The Warm Cookie car idling in front of my house.
Let’s pause right here for a moment of silence to appreciate that there is such thing as a Warm Cookie delivery service in Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s true. You can order a dozen chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, butterscotch oatmeal chocolate chip, or any other number of flavors, and they will deliver a box of cookies still warm from the oven right to your door. You can even add a pint of milk or a single serving of vanilla ice cream with your delivery.
Jesus himself came up with this concept, I am sure of it. In between changing water into wine and distributing fish and bread to the multitudes, he trademarked The Warm Cookie.
Anyway, when I saw the Warm Cookie car idling in front of my house, my heart leapt. I’d never been the lucky recipient of a box of Warm Cookies, and I thought my time had finally come.
Alas, it hadn’t. My heart broke as the car accelerated past my house and turned into my neighbor’s driveway. No warm cookies for me.
I posted my disappointment on Facebook, received much empathy for my cookielessness state, and promptly forgot about the whole incident.
Four days later, I was having a terrible-no-good-very-bad day. You know the kind. My writing projects were backlogged at work. I sucked up the vacuum cord, shorted out the vacuum and nearly electrocuted myself in the process. My kids needed to be in two different places at the same time. And I’d just found out my closest friend was moving 1,500 miles away. That kind of day.
Walking in the door after my hour-long commute, I dropped my bags on the living room floor and slumped into the kitchen. And that’s when I saw it. There on the counter sat a cardboard box wrapped in a raffia bow, nestled inside of which were a dozen warm cookies. I read the card: “I wanted The Warm Cookie car to stop at your house.” It was from Kimberly.
Warm cookie in hand, I immediately Voxed my friend Kimberly in New Jersey, gushing into the phone, detailing the terrible-no-good-very-badness of my day and thanking her for her kindness.
But here’s the clincher: the warm cookies weren’t from my friend Kimberly. She messaged me back a little while later, sheepishly admitting that though she would love to take credit for the idea, the surprise delivery was not from her.
Here’s the second clincher: to my knowledge, I do not know any other Kimberlys. Mystified, I called The Warm Cookie, explaining my conundrum and why I hoped to track down the giver. Turns out, The Warm Cookie company had no record of a Michelle as a recipient nor a Kimberly as a giver.
I call her the Cookie Angel now, the mysterious Kimberly who gave me a reason to smile on a terrible-no-good-very-bad day. And as I write this, I’m thinking, wouldn’t it be fun to make this a thing? To launch a Pay it Forward Warm Cookie Angel Campaign? As far as I can see, the world could really use some snickerdoodles right now.
In all seriousness, though – we would all do well to remember the lasting and powerful effect of the small but meaningful gesture. Maybe it’s a handwritten note slipped into the mail. Or a bouquet of zinnias snipped from your garden. Or a lively greeting along your daily exercise route. As Mother Teresa so famously said, “We can’t all do great things. But we can all do small things with great love.”
Thank you, Kimberly the Cookie Angel. Your small thing turned around my bad day and made me smile all week (and my kids were pretty happy about it too).