Saadat Hosseini – The Watchmaker
I had a couple of watches that needed batteries replaced, so I took them to our local watchmaker. I’d been there before, as he is the only store in town with the right tools to remove the backs of very large watches. His stores sits on a quiet street on the original brick roads of downtown Kearney. The store is also completely quiet, except for the soft ticking of half a dozen clocks inside.
I approached the small counter that supported an ancient cash register, and met the man behind it with a smile and hello. I placed the two watches on the counter and explained what I needed.
“Would you like to wait or come back for them?” he asked in an Iranian accent.
“I’ll wait, thank you,” I replied.
“Well, if you’ll be waiting, I’ll have to have a story.”
I paused, gauging his seriousness. He was already working intently on one of the watches, so my mind quickly searched for something entertaining. I am not one to back down from a challenge, especially when it comes to telling stories.
“Well, I have a story for you!” I said. “Just last week, I’m proud to say, I published a book.”
His eyes flicked to me from his work, then back to the gears in front of him.
“That’s very exciting,” he said quietly, “what is it about?”
“It’s about a fallen angel trying to get back into Heaven,” I blurted, and immediately regretted. It was about so much more than that; about hope and trials and forgiveness. But, it would have to do I guessed, and feeling deflated, the conversation paused.
By now, he had completed the battery swap in one watch, and had begun the task of the second. It was a monstrous watch, nearly 2 1/2′ in diameter. We chatted a little more, about the past weekend and about our kids. It wasn’t a forced conversation at all, just pleasant. He continued to deconstruct the piece in his hands, still holding our conversation without missing a beat. This watch, with four different time pieces in it, required four separate batteries. At $10 a piece, I knew approximately how much the bill would be.
“I will have to order one of the batteries, but I can replace the other three,” he said.
“You know what, if you want to replace just the two that actually show the time ticking, then I’ll have my husband come back if he wants the others replaced.”
He nodded his understanding, and after a few minutes returned the watch to my possession.
“This job would normally be about $21,” he began. “But I’ll tell you what. I’ll charge you $10, and when your book is out in paperback, you drop one off here for me, and we’ll be even.”
“Are you serious?” I asked, quite a bit louder than I anticipated. Had I actually intrigued him enough with the short sentence I blurted about the story?
“Yes, I’m very serious!” he said with a smile on his face. “You support me, and I support my locals too. If you forget, that’s okay, but if you don’t forget, then you know where I am.”
“I will not forget!” I laugh, and I began to thank him.
This genuine exchange taught me something. There is still good in the world, there are others out there who sincerely wish good for others. It’s not about money to everyone. There are those out there, maybe even next door to you, who can wish you success by a simple gesture.
So, what am I going to do? Well, for one, he’s getting a SIGNED paperback when they are printed. But I’m also going to pay it forward. I want to find something real in this life, something that when I’m gone, my actions will live intertwined within the good I did for others.
I want to challenge you all, dear reader friends! When was the last time you performed a random act of kindness? How have you paid it forward lately? Watch for the opportunities in your everyday life, because the time to be kind and generous is always around you, even in the most routine of actions.
It can be gifted to others, and will soon be in paperback, just in time for Christmas giving.
Comment below with what you’ve seen, and how you’ve taken advantage of these opportunities. I would love to hear about the positive world we live in!