Some years ago, I was working in HR for a veddy proper gentleman, along with about 40 other people. We would get amazing gift baskets from clients at Christmastime, and we would break them open and everyone would share. In one of these baskets were two, tiny packets of smoked salmon. After the packets had been out for a few days, I asked around to determine interest in them, then I took one and ate it.
A few days later, Veddy Proper came stalking around looking for the salmon packets. I could hear him coming, and as he drew nearer, I could make out him asking if anyone had seen the salmon. Where was the salmon? My cubemate, who had eaten the other packet, yelped, “Lane ate one!” She added quietly (too quietly for him to hear as he had already rounded on me) that she’d had the other.
“Really?” He asked, and I nodded. He huffed. “I don’t know what you are used to where you come from, but here, we do not just take what we want. We do not smash and grab. We do not take all for ourselves without thinking of others. We share, we–” It went on until he had drawn a little crowd and I was worried that the heat from how hot I had blushed was going to burn my skin from the inside out.
I apologized and went back to my work when he walked away, surprised and mortified. Somehow, the scolding always sounds worse when it happens in a British accent. That night, I went to the store and bought the biggest packet of smoked salmon I could find, and a card.
I wrote him a little note, apologizing for having taken the 1oz salmon packet, and hoped that this would make up for it.
It ended well, with his apology, and we probably both learned something. Him, not to talk to people like that–especially in front of their peers. Me, never to touch anything ever again. Ha!
I think the funniest part of the story is that he was “secret Santa” gifted with a couple of other large smoked salmons for the next few years. I’m pretty sure I know who the culprits were, and I adore them for it.
Last night, confused in the excitement of an open house and program that included well over a hundred kids, Thor gave a piece of his costume (a red bandana) to another little girl to give to his teacher. This was not protocol, and in front of a hallway full of parents and children, Thor was scolded and told he would not be allowed into his classroom to participate in the rest of Open House since he didn’t have his bandana in his hands. I said I would IOU a bandana.
Today, I ordered a dozen to be shipped to the person who wiped the smile of excitement off his little face, and made him hang his head in shame.
There just isn’t room for that in my life, and I won’t make room for it in his. I just wish I had the luxury of shipping a hundred.