It was 8:26 on a snowy Saturday evening when the doorbell startled me. I had just sat down after a busy but satisfying day, so I was tired but in a good mood when I opened the door to see two snow-suited boys, each with a snow shovel held upright at their sides. The boys faces beamed up at mine while I quickly surveyed their attire, and gave their parents credit for properly outfitting them in warm knit hats, gloves and boots.
“Can we shovel your driveway?” they chimed.
My husband sat in his easy chair across the room, shaking his head back and forth, indicating he’d get to the task later on. The powdery snowfall was only an inch or two deep, a piece of cake compared with the foot-deep monster falls he had tackled all winter.
“How much do you charge?” I asked.
“Oh, whatever you want to pay us.”
“That sounds good. Will you do the driveway and the sidewalk too?”
“Oh, yes.” they said enthusiastically. “We’ll do it all.”
“Well, OK. Just come back in a few minutes when you are done and I’ll pay you.”
The pair ran off toward the driveway, shovels in hand, to begin their work.
On the TV, the movie “The Social Network” was playing. In it, a brainy but insecure Harvard student creates a social networking site that would become known as Facebook and make a gazillion dollars. True story.
My little entrepreneurs were outside working their hearts out in ten degree weather. Who knew what their future would hold?
At 8:35 the doorbell rang again.
“We’re done!” the two boys announced.
“Oh, that was quick,” I said as my generous mind overcompensated the extreme lightness of the snow versus the rapid-fire shoveling energy of not one, but two, boys around our corner lot.
I handed each one a nice crisp five dollar bill.
“Thanks!” they exclaimed, eyes wide.
“You are by far our best customer yet!” one of the boys said.
Before I could mentally translate my gift into hourly pay or eyeball the sidewalks they had been assigned to, the boys were off, perhaps to their next, less-generous customer, or off to today’s equivalent of the candy shop with their cash.
I closed the door with a smile on my face. Nice boys, warmly dressed, polite, ambitious, working outdoors, away from TV and trouble. What more could one want from eight minutes and $10?
My husband was putting his coat on to go outside and check their work. The snow was mostly gone from the driveway and front walk, but on the east side the walk was untouched.
I didn’t care. Two little smiling faces stayed in my mind. I was their best customer ever.