I have a few little girls who I’ve known since they were tiny — Lindsay is one of those friends.  She’s the very smart daughter of Chau, my manicurist at Creation Nails.  I always give Lindsay a Christmas present — and this year’s was the same as last — a basketball.  (I know it makes her popular at recess!)  She came into the shop a few weeks ago and now that she’s a pre-teen, was a bit bored.  I gave her a project — to write me a “Thank You” note for what she’d just opened.  I told her about my “3 Easy Paragraphs” — to write the first one about how you felt when you got the gift.  Paragraph Two:  Something nice about the person.  Paragraph Three:  How you hope we’ll carry the gift or rhe relationship forward in the future.  Lindsay came back with a half-hearted attempt, which I kindly rejected.  I told her to add heart, layer in some feelings, and do it again.  A few minutes later, she handed me this note — and I delighted.


Fast Forward to today:  I hadn’t been in the salon for a month — between travels and being ill upon my return I was an infrequent client.  Lindsay called her Mom, and I took the phone so we could exchange pleasantries.  Near the end of my appointment, a well-dressed lady with horn-rimmed glasses in the pink massage chair across from me said, “I wanted to thank you… I was here last time when you taught Lindsay how to write a thank you note’ and I plagiarized your idea.”

She explained that her cleaning lady had brought her own 13-year old son to work.  The Nail Customer said, “You’ve got to have a PROJECT, you can’t sit here all day” to the boy .. and she taught him how to write a thank you note, using the same three steps I’d showed Lindsay.  She said his first one wasn’t great, and like me, she asked him to re-write it.  This time he got it.  His mother was watching them, and The Nail Customer told her, “Don’t worry, do your thing — this is our project.”  A few days later the Nail Customer got a “Thank You” from her cleaning lady, written in the same style with the date in the upper corner just as The Nail Customer had shown the boy.

I had a glimmer of a brainstorm — what if all older people took it on as a project to teach just one younger person how to write a “THANK YOU”?  Wouldn’t that be a cool way to pay it forward?  I’m going to cogitate on my concept, but wanted to share this story while it was fresh in my mind — and my nails are barely dry.

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