Finding Alice

What I Can't Help But Say

Good Evening to My Viewers in the West

I have a crush on the most trusted man in America. Obama? Good guess. Dr. Fauci? Well now that you mention it, yes. Him too. But I’m talking about NBC’s Lester Holt.

Earnest, dimpled, empathetic Lester. I am a total Lester groupie. We even have a shiny black coffee mug with an NBC peacock on it.

On regular weeknights our adult daughter, Emily, comes over for a visit. We chat over cocktails as the half-ignored soundtrack of COVID-related statistics, stock market losses, and worldwide tragedy plays from the small flatscreen mounted above the kitchen counter. Then just before 6 pm we mute our conversation and turn our full attention to what we call, ‘The Happy Thing.’

My husband, Si, wants our 39-year marriage to survive the Great Shelter, so he stays out of the kitchen until after 6 pm. If he dares interrupt the ‘Happy Thing’ my glare cuts deeper than any handmade weapon on his favorite show.

Emily and I can always tell when Lester likes the ‘Happy Thing’ and when he’s just reading from his teleprompter. His dimples say it loud and clear. And those amazing eyes encircled by round frames repeat the chorus. When he misses his mark his face says, “This one’s not my best, Lewis Ladies. Terribly sorry! Tune in again tomorrow and I’ll try harder.” No worries, Lester. We will.

Just for you!

So here is your very own ‘Finding Alice Happy Thing,’ and you didn’t even have to suffer through twenty-five minutes of evening news to get there.

Back Story: My husband ordered a TV for a customer and asked the vendor to deliver it to our house. He let me know it was coming and that they needed a signature.

I felt trapped for weeks by the extended lock down. No nonessential outings. No dinners out, hair coloring or impulse shopping at favorite local stores. But a FedEx delivery requiring a signature? I couldn’t even walk the damned dog.

Poor Sugar Bear

On delivery day, we got a call on the home office line from the FedEx driver. Of course, I didn’t pick up because every unidentified caller is an evil robot. He left a message, then followed up with a text to my cel saying he was nearby.

From the reassembled fragments of our dropped conversation I learned his freight truck was too big for our dead-end block. Day wasted. They would need to reschedule.

Here comes the ‘Happy Thing!’ The driver said, and I kid you not, “What if I come to Encinal Avenue? Big street nearby? I park my truck and walk the TV to you on a hand truck?”

For those unfamiliar with our Island City of Alameda, that means single-handedly unloading a 55” flat screen TV from a big rig, strapping it to a dolly, then wheeling it up the middle of the street for several blocks while dodging bicycles, dog walkers, and exercise enthusiasts all trying to avoid each other six feet apart at a time.

No way. They would have to reschedule. Another waste of a day.

Minutes later as I sat frustrated at my desk in our nice cool basement, the driver texted that he was out front. I sprinted upstairs, relieved. I would have bear-hugged the fellow if Governor Gavin had given his ok.

Pushing the heavy boxed TV up the length of our driveway, the driver said, “What a beautiful neighborhood!” Sweating from his efforts, his eyes said he was smiling wide beneath his mask as I signed for the delivery. I handed him two water bottles and a good tip, then thanked him repeatedly as I watched him roll his dolly down the block into the proverbial sunset.

Heroes among us! I still had his number, so I texted one more thank you and asked for the name of his supervisor. When I called, the grumpy voice on the end of the line must have thought I was going to lodge a complaint. He lightened up when he realized I was happy and put me through to a supervisor.

The supervisor picked up, just as grumpy as the first until I filled him in. I could feel his smile right through the phone as I sang my song of praise. The actions of one man made the day for all of us. Random act, above and beyond, hope signed for and delivered.

Back in the good old days of restaurant dine-in, you would get the rare waiter like that. One that treated you like their personal favorite. I would get that rare waiter and I would say, “I want to bottle you up and take you along to every other restaurant so you could be my forever waiter.”

I don’t have to tell you our world has changed, and it’s understandably overwhelming. But the way we treat others gives us power. Take your hand truck to the high road. If most of us do it, most of the time, we will all have our ‘Happy Thing’ at the end.

*This is not an ad for either FedEx or NBC, although if they made me an offer, I wouldn’t turn it down. Timely feel good commercial, right?

23 thoughts on “The Happy Thing

  1. sfsusan says:

    Thanks, Alice! Your good news, happy thing story has made my day!

    1. Alice Lewis says:

      Thanks, Susan! You just made mine. xo

  2. Lolly Parker says:

    Thank you Alice. Your story sincerely made me feel good this morning.

    1. Alice Lewis says:

      Thanks Lolly! So appreciated. : )

  3. Joanie Mellows says:

    That would have been perfect for John Krasinski’s, “Some Good News” (SGN on YouTube) – made me smile/laugh/cry at the same time! Nice piece, Alice, I bet Lester Holt would be all dimples 🙂

  4. kgfgardener says:

    There is good out there, and I have found it this morning with Alice. Thank you!

    1. Alice Lewis says:

      Thank YOU, Kathie! : )

  5. Renee Sheehan says:

    Wish I’d seen him waking by with the dolly…. That’s a feel good story, Alice, and appreciate you spreading the happy vibes!

    1. Alice Lewis says:

      Thanks Renee! : )

  6. James Sherman says:

    Wonderful column Alice! Much Love, Jamie

    1. Alice Lewis says:

      Thanks for reading, Jamie! xox

  7. Beth says:

    I loved it and am a Lester groupie too do you realize he is sending From home he’s worried his dog will photo bomb him.

    1. Alice says:

      Thank you! So grateful for your unconditional support.❤️

  8. Bob Sherman says:

    Bringing a smile to my face! Keep the faith Sister!Love,Bob

  9. Courtenay says:

    If this is posted on FB, I’m totally gonna hashtag FedEx and NBC for you. 💗

  10. Chris Bailey says:

    OMG! I am SO glad you are writing again. Love your writing, love THIS and love you!

  11. Janice Wilkes says:

    One true thing….You are the keeper, communicator of kindness, goodness and all things that heal the soul. Thank you for writing again. Your making me smile Alice.

    1. Alice Lewis says:

      Printed and up on the fridge, Janice! Thank you!

  12. Greg says:

    This is great, Alice. It’s nice to read “an encouraging word” during these times.

  13. Lolly Bray says:

    Thank you Alice! Your writing is so refreshing! It’s like talking with you–I can see your smile and expressive blue eyes! Our delivery guys do make a difference. Today, Ren and I were coming home and a FedEx truck was blocking our driveway and the driver was standing on my front porch and saw me jump out of the car. He waved and smiled and said he had a package for me he had to hand deliver. He had waited for a few minutes before I got home. Delivery service sure has stepped up its game.

  14. Rita and Paul Virgil says:

    Always wonderful to hear your thoughts Alice, very entertaining!❤❤

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