Year 2014 collection. “All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else” Lord Buddha
I and my wife we own a condominium in Hua Hin, Thailand and when we don’t use it we rent it out through Airbnb. We had guests staying there since the 2nd January and were due to check-out today morning. They are a couple from England with two small kids but working and living in Hong Kong. Yesterday night we shared an email to thank them and wishing them a good journey back home. They replied saying they were heading for their last dinner after 2 wonderful weeks full of happiness. They loved the place so much they would eventually return, they said.
For the moment we are in Sweden but we have a relative taking care of everything as it would be us. He follows our instructions because we made the point to keep our five stars review intact. This morning my wife waked me up at 6.00am because we have got a message from that relative saying the guests were in panic and needed help. During the night both kids had diarrhoea and vomiting. They were exhausted, dehydrated and in urgent need to go to the hospital. They had to cancel the taxi from Hua Hin to Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, change their travel date and unpack again because they could not make it, the kids would surely need some hours in the hospital. Our relative helped them exhaustively and we have decided not charge them the extra night they needed to stay because we felt an embarrassment to suck money in such a distressed moment. They were very happy and thankful, words were missing they said, to express their gratitude. They used all linen and all towels we could have available because the kids were throwing out in every corner at any moment during the whole night. Our 145sqm flat looked like a war zone, our relative said. They offer to pay for the whole laundry which included the sofa’s pillows… everything available in our flat needed a deep wash-up.
Never mind we said, the day greediness takes over from compassion and understanding in such a moments then it means humanity as a whole has lost its principles and moved to a reckless world. If it was us in such circumstances we would seek forgiveness, compassion, understanding and help in first place before any other thoughts. That is what we told them, lets take care of the living souls and focus on them before anything else. At the moment I’m writing the kids are back from hospital where they have been taken good care but needed a deep rest. Parents are very happy by now and relieved to see the kids almost back to their normal happiness….
…this afternoon I picked-up my wife (by means of walking) from the school were she is learning Swedish. Suddenly I remembered I needed to buy some batteries and we decided to meet halfway at Espresso House coffee-shop in Södra Förstadsgatan or better known by the walking street of Malmö. After we met we decided then to buy a cafe-latte and talk a bit about the day. Fifteen minutes past we headed home and continuos our talk about her two weeks vacations to Thailand in two days. We walked about 2,8km in a tiny rainy Swedish call lucky rain while the Portuguese call it silly rain. Arriving home my wife realised she forgot her back-pack in the corner near the table we were sitting at the coffee-shop. In it she had almost all her life!!!
I had not taken my shoes off yet, so I ran like a maniac in the streets we walked back home. A fraction of a second may makes the difference, I thought. I was planning to go for my daily jogging of 1okm but I did never plan to run that pace with winter coat and winter shoes. But I did, it seems. I made it in less than 12 minutes!….
Before we moved to Malmö about a year and half ago we were living in Lund. I am a frequenter of Espresso House as I love their coffee and I have a loyal card that gives me 12% discount at every order. I used to go very often to a small Espresso House branch near Lund’s University where the master barista was very friendly and with whom I frequently chatted when he had no customers. It happens that he moved to Malmö a few months after we met and have not seen him the year after. People are always on the move in these small business so I didn’t even thought about anymore. Last Summer, to my surprise, I entered this Expresso House branch in Malmö and there he was! I looked at him while making my order and he looked at me and we both think the same; “I know your face but…”. We took both a few seconds and concluded that it was from the same business but Lund’s branch. He was offered the position as a branch manager and did not hesitated to move because more handy related to his place. Since then, this has been my preferred Espresso House branch in town, thought there is one just four hundred metres away from my place. I find he gives to the place a very familiar feeling and I like it…
…. when I entered his coffee shop he was walking down from the upstairs coffee room. He looked at me and noticed my panicked face.
– Any problem? he asked. I looked to the corner where I previously sat with my wife and see nothing!
– I… (and pointed to the corner)… my wife…
– Oh shit! You left a back-pack there?!
– Yes, that…
– Come up with me! I saw two girls picking it up while waiting for their order and asked them but they said it belonged to them… Come, quickly!
He ran two steps at time while I had no breath left. My legs were heavy and tired.
– Hey, you said this back-pack was yours but I know this customer and this back-pack belongs to this gentlemen!
He grabbed my wife’s back-pack and gave it to me while looking at the two young ladies with an unfriendly expression.
– You no longer are welcome to my shop! He said, polite but strongly. They understood they were lucky by not getting involved with the police. So did I with my right hand fingers pointing to them and shacking my head in signal of disgusting. You will surely pay for your misbehaviour! Don’t look for coincidences in life because there are none, don’t forget today’s! I said. To our understand they were killing time and if no one would show up they would leave and get away with an iPad, an iPhone and a wallet full of credit and debit cards, some cash and other important information useless for them they would just throw to the bin while leaving someone in despair.
One second less or one second more, the end would be different… Since I left home, after my wife realised she forgot her back-pack, I never stop running and the three traffic lights I had to cross were green upon my arrival. The branch manager was very attentive to details in his shop and I met him right in front of me upon my arrival. Let’s imagine I would get red traffic lights on my way… I would miss him in that particular position where he just observed the girls and they were probably left. If I would not meet him (because either already left, or being on the kitchen or even toilet) I would ask any other staff and they would probably know nothing. I would have to leave empty hands and by now I would be helping my wife to call everywhere to cancel everything…
… this morning while replying to our guests in Hua Hin after their five times thankfulness I wrote to them, please never mind, “…think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world because even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely…” Lord Buddha said.
We have been compensated by this morning actions and every single second of our burden have been mastered by something to such a degree that one single second would make all the difference in our happiness. Did you realize the pace I ran while I am 60 years old? Why didn’t I felt the need to stop to breath after all?…
… because there are no coincidences. Almost everything is mastered and tailored.