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A Memorable Croissant

The other day while I was typing away on my laptop at a local Starbucks, I noticed an elderly lady sitting on her own with a cup of coffee and a fresh croissant in front of her. Her unassuming yet graceful presence stood out against a backdrop of lively students, friends meeting up for coffee, and an eclectic bunch working on their laptops. There was an elegant but palpably melancholic energy about her.

As she went to take a bite of her buttery croissant, she lost a hold of it. I experienced something of a silent gasp as her fresh pastry bounced off the table and landed on the ground beside her. Though my instinct was to stand up to get her a new one, I restrained myself as she looked down at her croissant, then lifted her eyes to see if anyone had noticed. Luckily, I was in a bit of a dark corner and was able to shift my gaze downward before her quick scan passed me by.

Satisfied that no one had noticed, she slowly leaned over from her chair and picked up the croissant. Thinking that she would get up to discard it, I was on the balls of my feet, ready to bring a little happiness into her day with a new one when unexpectedly, she gave the croissant a quick one-two dusting off on the sleeve of her jacket and proceeded to enjoy it with her coffee.

The whole sequence from noticing this elder on her own to her dusting off and eating that memorable croissant happened in about a minute and filled me with admiration and respect for her. In our highly sanitized and throw-away society, to witness the way she honoured that perfectly edible croissant inspired me. Whatever values contributed to her action - modesty, frugality, a spirit of gratitude, not wanting to be wasteful, maybe a combination thereof - I was left feeling like I need to be more like her.

I give thanks for the priceless example that this elder set for me, all without knowing it.


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