Make You Better

I paid for a guy’s coffee refill last week at Cafe Kubal’s newest location at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown, 100 E. Onondaga St.

It’s just a small, kind gesture. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to do it all the time, but it’s great on occasion.

My parents, specifically my mom, and I were talking about this the other day. They’ll do the same thing. It wasn’t long ago, she said, they paid for a woman’s grocery items. She only had a few items, but they figured it’s a nice thing to do. They also probably can’t afford to do it all the time.

The parental units are unapologetic fans of the show The Middle. In one episode Frankie (Patricia Heaton’s matriarchal character), finds herself in the same predicament. A person buys her groceries. She goes to pay it forward and take care of the few items of the customer in line behind her. Well, the woman’s husband shows up (as scripted comic timing should have it) with a cart-load.

By happenstance, if the same scenario were to happen, I’m sure they’d shrug their shoulders and go ahead. My father, through comment, would most likely and quarter-jokingly ask the cart toters for an invite. When are you having us over for dinner?

I often hope people would repay the deed, but not all people are like that. Should that happen, the ball of positive energy would float away from the other folk and put itself inside a cosmic karma bank, waiting in the queue for someone to mentally pull one down and use.

The process is like taking a penny and leaving a penny. If you’re not going to use it, leave it and let someone else reap the karma benefits.

The guy I bought the coffee for was an distinguished gentleman — age and appearance. He rocked a scarf, which served as a great appropriate accessory to his well-dressed attire.

Cuppa Kubal [Photo by C. Malone]
He asked, Are you visiting the hotel?

No, I replied. This is just a convenient spot to grab something before heading over to work. Are you from out of town?

No, he said. It’s my wife’s and my anniversary. We came down to the hotel to grab some breakfast with a friend.

We didn’t exchange names or anything, but the conversation was warm enough. He and his wife come downtown to experience all that it has to offer. Before the Hotel Syracuse closed and Ed Riley decided to revamp the historic building with hopes of making it/returning it to the economic staple it was before, the downtown Syracuse location also proved its worth by being more than just a hotel.

In 2014, when news got out of the exciting renovation, it was easy to mentally revel about it. In December of that year, my blogging for Syracuse New Times continued with a little more “in depth” piece — which, still, only grazed the surface — about the Marriott Syracuse Downtown.

The historic hotel continues to stand as a regional and community urban beacon. It just hibernated for a little while, those old bones. Although I wasn’t even a thought at the time John Lennon and Yoko Ono popped into town for the ex-Beatle’s 31st birthday, it was wonderful to celebrate my junior prom in the hotel’s Grand Ballroom. I appreciated it, but the appreciation wasn’t as solid as it is today. High school me knew this was a historic hotel, but didn’t understand how critically historic.

The gentleman kept the conversation going, which I thought was kind. He asked if he could buy me a biscuit and looked at over the displayed in-house-made croissants and pastries, plus those Glazed & Confused donuts. I thanked him for offering, but declined.

I do wish I would have asked his name, which is something I often forget to do. Regardless of the length of conversation it’s polite. It’s socially OK if the exchange doesn’t, but the personal level of the exchange kicks up a few notches. Sometimes these blip-long moments can come back around.

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