When you go on vacation with your family, do you ever have one of those places you just have to visit before you leave? Sure you do! Maybe it’s a favorite restaurant or store, perhaps a visit with a faraway friend. These enjoyable urgencies become tradition and before you know it, your to-do list is set the moment you decide on your vacation destination.
This is our first beach trip to Corolla, NC. (Stop gasping, I know I should have come here years ago!) The wonderful thing about announcing your vacation plans on social media is receiving all the suggestions of places to see and visit.
“Go here – best tuna!”
“If you want to go shopping, you can’t miss TimBuckII.”
“You can’t go to Corolla without getting your Boogie Boards and souvenirs from Wings!”
I wasn’t all that concerned with where to go – I was quite happy to have a pool and beach by my side for a week. Besides, it’s hard to find activities to appease everyone when your children’s ages range from four to fifteen!
But even so, there was one place I knew we had to visit: Duck Donuts. If you’ve ever traveled to the Outer Banks or even visited Virginia Beach, then you just smiled when you heard that name. It’s a small donut shop, tucked between several other local stores, right off Highway 12 heading North.
What makes Duck Donuts unique from other donut chains is that YOU get to custom design your donut by choosing the icing and toppings. They make the donuts; you make them delectable. (No, that’s not their logo, but easily could be. I wonder how much logo makers bring in salary-wise…)
But I digress. The moment you enter this shop, the aroma of freshly baked cake donuts makes you salivate so quickly they have a mop in the corner to keep their floors dry. I am convinced this is what heaven smells like. (Although my daughter, an avid popcorn connoisseur, might disagree.)
The manager, all smiles, greeted us when we walked in. “How’re y’all folks doing today? Is this your first time visiting Duck Donuts?” Maybe he knew we were tourists from the fluorescent tie-dyed Outer Banks t-shirt my daughter wore, or perhaps he greeted everyone with this question, I wasn’t sure. His smile was genuine, as were his words, and we admitted we were newbies.
He pointed to the order forms and explained all the different ways we could create our donut. We had already decided that this would be our dinner, so we ordered a dozen and mixed them all up. (Oh, my Zumba instructor, Toni, is going to kill me with those words…)
While we waited for the order to be made, I saw my youngest son standing by the clear window watching the bare donuts being stacked up for icing. “Momma! Look! Donuts! I want one!” He was loud. Very loud. So loud, in fact, the lady beside me laughed and said, “Looks like you have a hungry boy, there.”
Did I mention that southerners automatically insert themselves into your world just from proximity? She wasn’t being rude. She was simply saying aloud what everyone was probably thinking. “Good heavens, that boy is loud!”
I come from a loud family. It’s in our genes. Carry on.
I smiled at the lady and nodded in agreement. “Donuts for dinner – can’t beat it,” was my reply as we shared a simple moment of shared understanding. As I turned back towards my son to snap a photo, I saw the worker behind the glass pick up one of the donuts with a white wrapper and lean across the top, reaching towards my son. “Here you go,” he said with a soft voice and a smile.
And this is where time moves in slow motion.
My youngest son looks at the man with obvious desire in his eyes. He turns towards me, those same eyes pleading for permission. My eyes dance with shared excitement. Permission granted.
In the same instant, my older son watches the random act of kindness unfold, but his eyes are surprised. Shocked. Sad.
The worker’s eyes twinkle with understanding. Reaching. Grabbing. Offering. Two.
And in an instant, the moment is done.
There are times in our lives where the kindness of others truly can determine the mood of your evening, even possibly laying foundation to larger life lessons we need to learn. This was one of those times. I’m not sure if the Duck Donuts worker was simply being nice providing a free donut for each of my boys, but it was a random act of kindness that made an impression on us all.
And then… we had donuts for dinner. 🙂
If you’re ever out this way on vacation, might I suggest you visit Duck Donuts? Even if your diet screams no, your heart will shout yes. I promise!
You can even get a bacon topped donut, too. 🙂