I’m moving. It’s a difficult move. It has an unexpected shape and fitting the contents from the back of the closet into it is clumsy, daunting. I’m writing “change of plans” down the side of boxes, instead of “kitchen.”

I’ve moved a lot over the years and my go-to for empty boxes is McDonald’s. I don’t eat at the place, mind you, but their boxes are strong, a just-right medium size, fit perfectly amongst themselves, and are always in supply.

Twice this month I’ve ridden my trike to the McDonald’s at Gerrard and Pape in Toronto and twice I’ve encountered Amanda who works there. Twice I’ve approached her in my current, somewhat raw state — I’m coming to most interactions lately with my guard down, with a “window in your heart,” as Paul Simon nails it — and asked her for boxes.

The first time, I was still outside when I saw her and asked. She, without a trace of annoyance — I did interrupt her task at hand, after all — announced happily “Wait here!” and made three trips (the second and third prompted by her, “Need more than that?” and my sheepish, hopeful “Yes, if you have them.”) from inside back out to me, her arms full.

The second time I swung by she looked up, “I remember you! Do you need more boxes?” and it took her longer than the last time as they were not readily available. She marched off and took the time to find and collapse another stack for me.

Both times she was so friendly, so quick to be helpful, it almost caught me off guard. I imagined a young woman who inherently considers kindness the default. I hoped she never thinks of it as exceptional. Both times I almost teared up — “everybody sees you’re blown apart.” I’m telling you — because her bit of easy-going assistance felt humane and near tender. I’m not without support during these days of Big Things — I have a few wise, wonderful friends, who are catching and covering me while I push through — but this Little Thing touched my heart.

Amanda shrugged off my thank yous and went back to work, so here is another thank you for her, stuck to this page.

Photo 2015-09-21, 11 12 43 AM
The loaded up trike.