Battle of the Chairs

You must visit a local coffee shop to test the waters of today’s kindness and caring. Like a movie with a Hollywood script, this has a happy ending… but one always in doubt!

Picture this: a bright, beautiful day with people milling about outside a popular coffee and pastry shop. And like a scene straight out of Mr. Rogers neighborhood, kids are laughing, adults are lined up to order… while enjoying each other’s conversation. Almost a carnival atmosphere!

Scene One: After biking to the coffee shop, we were looking forward to a refreshing coffee and a tasty treat but found only one lonely table and chair available. This was to be expected especially on a public holiday, so my wife decided to line up and place our order with the hopes of me securing an extra chair, if one came available. I started checking with folks, but all chairs were being held for someone else.

Scene Two: I retreated to our table to plan my next move. Just then, I noticed two chairs sitting by themselves outside the back doors… hmmmm? After working at several retail outlets in my younger day, my first thought was they were there for staff breaks. But it also meant that, with this crazy crowd, management’s directive would be, “all hands-on deck”, now… break-time later. So, I “borrowed” one of the two staff chairs with the thought I would cheerfully give it up, if asked.

Scene Three: Just when I was congratulating myself on creating a scenario whereby everybody potentially wins, here comes two women including a mother pushing a baby stroller. Now, to me, this was a game changer. Was I prepared to enjoy a coffee while this mother is left standing? Nope. My mind went into overdrive. I could “borrow” the last staff chair and offer it to the mom – advising her we may be asked for them back. So, as mom tries to console her baby, I make my move – explain my whole crazy plan – she’s grateful.

Scene Four: About five minutes later my wife returns; I don’t bother her with details as I savor my coffee. Then a neighboring group of people, using about ten chairs and two tables got up to leave – distributing chairs to anyone who needed them. It reminded me of the biblical story of a man – the good Samaritan – who similarly offered help to a stranger. Their moves, on this chessboard of life, made it possible to have a happy ending. I returned the two staff chairs. Checkmate!

Scene Five: But then a man came over – another witness to all this – and wanted to know if I had asked the mother to hold her baby. What? Not me man – I just move chairs! Leaving, he told the mom that he was glad she ended with a chair. She just looked my way and smiled: a true Madonna.

I learned that nothing goes unnoticed. All is recorded in the hearts and minds of everyone. Kindness and caring? Anyone can do this. Where there’s a will…

That’s the way I figure it.

Photo Credit

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

First published at

Guest Author Bio
Fred Parry

Fred Parry lives in Southern Ontario. He is a lover of people and a collector of stories, music, wisdom, and grandchildren. His raison d’etre? “I’m one of those people who believe that if my work serves the common good, it will last; if not, it will die with me. As a freelancer – including ten years as a Torstar columnist – I still believe that’s true.” His book, ‘The Music In Me’ (2013) Friesen Press is also available via Indigo / Chapters.

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