Moments come as quickly as they go, and more often than not what you don’t realize is how they impacted someone you never even met. This story is a perfect example of that. One teacher was grabbing a quick coffee and noticed a father-daughter date in progress at one of the tables in the shop. The moment moved her.
Her days were normally filled dealing with the consequences of dads who left. Kids running around in her classroom acting out as a response to being abandoned. So to see this father taking the time moved her to the point of writing an anonymous note to the father. The dad was so moved he took to Facebook to share his side of the encounter:
“Dear Fellow Human Beings,
This morning, at her request, I took our 9-year-old daughter to a coffee shop. She brought with her a little crocheting activity; I brought the newspaper, a notebook & pen, and my phone. This was going to be an outing not unlike others we’d had before: while sitting at the same table, we’d do our own things — she’d keep herself occupied with something, and I’d catch-up on emails, organize my week, get work done, etc. Sound familiar? Today, she made one additional request: “Daddy, can you not read the paper or doodle or check email today? Can we just be together?” I’m not trying to be melodramatic; that was her question.
So today, we were together. She showed me her yarn project. I recalled the day she was born. We compared notes about whether or not couples at other tables were on “dates” (she likes to impersonate people on dates — resting her smiling face on her hand and practicing a starry-eyed stare). She told me about her friends and their hamsters. I watched her chew her breakfast sandwich and melted a little bit as I thought about how much I love her. I wished it hadn’t taken her past experience and her courageous reaching out for me to give her the attention she so wanted and needed.
Before we left, I went up to the counter to order a take-out snack for her brother. When I returned to our table, there was a note, left face-down, in front of my seat. My daughter told me that a woman, before leaving the coffee shop, had asked her if I was her father and said that the message was for me. I looked around (nobody was there) and flipped over the paper to find the words below. This anonymous message was enough of a reinforcement for me, that I hope more people might be guided by its power and by its author’s thoughtfulness.
Please don’t wait for your child or other loved one to plead for your attention like mine did — he or she might not. Expect that no one will leave a note for you — such beauty in this world is far too rare. I invite you to share the gift of this experience with me: choose to be present today — even for just a little while — for someone you love. If you see it happen somewhere, consider leaving a note — it sure does leave an impression. -David”