This is the note that greeted me at check-out when I went to buy two children’s books at Architrave Store. It literally stopped me in my tracks. Could it be real? The trust that this store owner is placing in its patrons and the community was astounding to me. I felt like it was a prank – but sure enough, my eyes glance over on the desk to find several hand scribbled customer notes from earlier in the day, detailing their “purchased” items and contact information. While balancing the books in one hand, I grabbed a paper and pencil with the other and started to jot down my information, still in disbelief.
Just as I’m about to finish my last line, I hear a cheery voice say “Oh hi, I’m here!” I look up and I’m greeted by Charles, the store owner. Almost teary eyed, I tell him how surprised and touched I am by this note and this practice. I share my disbelief at the trust he’s putting in people to do the right thing. We talk for about a half hour – he tells me many things – stories of past patrons and how toys transcend age. One story included a middle aged man who expressed interest in buying a dinosaur rocker that had been discontinued. Charles misheard him when he said it was for a nine year old. See, that man returned a few days after the purchase to tell Charles that his ninety year old mother absolutely loved it and it made her smile.
Charles told me that “toys are love” – and anyone looking to buy them are doing it in the sprint of love. And with that intention, the risk is lower that someone might not “do the right thing”. And if they don’t, or if they can’t afford a $10 toy, then he would be ok with them borrowing it for a while. So friends, this is the story I choose to share with you today. Amidst all of the other noise happening in the world, I hope this brings a smile to your face. Because Charles and his cheery outlook brought tons of joy to my day and restored a little bit of my faith in humanity. And this goes without saying, but please visit Achitrave Store in Needham, MA!