I was sitting in my office – a.k.a Starbucks – when Cupid struck, sans the bow and arrow. This young man came up to me out of nowhere and asked “Hi, I don’t mean to bother you, but do you have a Valentine?”
I lied and said yes because I thought he might be selling something and he said “Oh ok, well here is a little something for you to share with your valentine” and he pulled out a box of a chocolate-covered rose.
My icy-cold heart melted. I now had to find out who this young man was and what was the story that inspired him.
Turns out our cupid is a local young man by the name of Leonardo Amaro, (isn’t that befitting that “Amaro” is almost like “Amor” which means love in Spanish, and is also the last name of our Cupid!). He said that being single on Valentine means we are often left out and he wanted to make people’s day brighter and use his energy to spread some joy and love.
He consulted with a close female friend to get her take on how creepy or not creepy this might be; then, the night before Valentine’s Day, he asked his mom what were some of the gifts that she received from his father, she said the best gifts were the simple things – flowers, candy, chocolate, – but it was the thought that mattered most.
He prayed on it, went to bed and, when he woke up, he felt it in his heart that this was he wanted to do.
By the time he had reached me he had already gone to back to his local EPCC campus, and several starbucks, McDonald’s…handing out Valentines… he said one cashier was so moved by the chocolate rose that it immediately helped ease his nerves and doubts about going up to strangers, “she was so happy, I didn’t know you could make someone so happy with something so simple, bringing them joy brings me joy.”
Our young Cupid invested his own money and, as his supply runs low he stocks up; when I sat down with him he had already been handing out Valentines for about 3 hours.
I asked him if he planned to do this next year and he said he would like to try to continue next year, even though it must be nerve-wracking to go up to complete strangers.
“Yeah they usually think I am selling something but once they see I just wanted to do something nice for nothing in return, most people really light up and smile, no one is really doing anything like this, so I thought I should. I did this because I knew I couldn’t possibly be the only one alone for Valentine’s Day and why not help make someone’s day brighter, so yeah I would like to do this again next year.”
I thanked him for the sweet gesture and for spending some time with me. I wished him luck on his way and watched him go up to the tables next to me.
I followed up with the women after he left; one young woman said that is was “the sweetest thing” and that “nowadays it is nice to see that someone cares to be nice like that for no reason at all.” The woman next to her said it really meant a lot to her, that she really appreciated the gesture.
Equally for me, I second those sentiments, it really was refreshing to meet a fellow human who wanted nothing from me, simply wanted to wish me well and hoped I enjoyed a small gesture of kindness on Valentine’s Day.
What a beautiful example, I will attempt to hold on to that and pay it forward. Thank you, El Paso’s Cupid!