A Little Happier: I Love to See Virtue Rewarded. For Instance, in Harrods.

For me, one of the most satisfying basic story lines is “Virtue rewarded.” I love all stories in which virtue is recognized and rewarded. The karma police aren’t always on duty, and boy it’s great when they are. My daughter Eleanor feels the same way, and years ago when she was a little girl, I happened to tell her this story, and she loved it so much that she used to beg me to tell and re-tell it to her as a bedtime story. So this is the story, it’s the story of an acquaintance of mine who lives in Geneva, and she told me the story, and when I asked, she emailed me this account of what happened. She wrote:

I went into Harrods in London (a huge department store I am sure you have heard of) to buy some Minton China plates for a wedding anniversary which was to be a group gift from friends to other friends in Geneva. Having only 30 minutes between meetings, I whizzed there in a taxi from the office and battled through the milling people on the 2nd day of the sales on the ground floor up to the 5th floor to the china department. There was a chap standing there who was obviously a sales person who I rushed up to and asked if he had this particular china? in stock? would it take long to wrap? etc. He was amazing. He got the plates in seconds, wrapped them up, asked me if I wanted a store card to which I replied no, because I lived in Switzerland, to which he replied asking if, as I lived abroad, would I like a tax rebate form? He showed me what to do, and produced a map of the store of where I should go for the formalities. Amazing, so I thanked him and said what wonderful service he had given me, and did he give this to everyone? With that, a tall man in a grey suit approached me, offering his hand to shake mine, saying, “Can I introduce myself, I am the Chief Executive of Harrods, and what an interesting conversation I have just heard.”…. He had been wandering through the store (as you should do as a hands-on CEO) and had overheard me thanking this salesman – whose face, I can hardly describe, was – frozen in a mixture of delight, awe and astonishment! Can you imagine the salesman going home to his family and friends recounting, “The day the CEO spoke to me after overhearing me being praised by a customer.”
How I love this story! It’s wonderful to see people do a job well, and to extend themselves to help others—and then it’s even more wonderful to see that action recognized and rewarded.




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