short excerpts...other writings...upon occasion or as prompted...
The tiger in the water? A representation of my life -- spirit and environment!


Friday, November 20, 2009

The Power of a Kind Bribe

I once desperately needed to have a document processed immediately by a bureaucrat in the organization where I worked. George (not his real name; he would probably not mind my sharing his name and this story, but he unfortunately died a few years ago) was particularly well known for his procrastination. However, if he were to procrastinate with my paperwork, I would lose several hundred dollars. Unfortunately, the lateness of the paperwork was my fault, not his. So, I really did need a favor from George, whom I did not know well and who was reputed to be slow.

After doing some quick thinking, I dashed to a flower shop, then approached George with a pretty purple, yellow, orange, and white bouquet, one that seemed suitable in color for the male of our species. I told him what I needed and why, explained how not getting a same-day turnaround on the papers would affect me, and asked if I could beg him for help with words or bribe him with flowers. He laughed and said that the flowers were an excellent bribe and that the paperwork would be ready in a couple of hours. It was.

The exchange of flowers for paperwork led to more than I had expected. When people saw the flowers on the desk of this introverted, even sometimes dour man, they were surprised and asked where they came from. That gave him something pleasant to talk about, and he seemed to enjoy the rare attention.

A few days later, I was working late and heard a knock on my door. It was George. He walked around the work premises early each evening as his daily constitutional. He had seen my light on and had decided to stop in -- after going to his nearby home to pick a rose from his garden and bring it with him to give to me. Thereafter, every Wednesday evening right before I got ready to leave, I would find him at my door with a rose, and I always stayed a few minutes longer to talk to him.

There was no personal relationship as such between us, just the Wednesday rose and talk -- and a goodnight hug. The bouquet that I had given him came back to me again and again for the remaining three years that I worked at that organization, and a bureaucrat whom I would otherwise have barely known became an ally.


Excerpted and adapted from a story I published in a collection of vignettes, copyright 2003.


  1. A very pleasant story. He responded to your kindness. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Great story - Kindness and respect is something we all need and some get very little appreciation. Good job...this was nice.

  3. Thanks, Quiet Spirit, for your ready comments on this blog page.

    Grayquill, every time you leave a comment I am struck by the beautiful gentleness of your spirit.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. Thank you for sharing such a positive, touching story. You were an agent of blessing to a man who was probably rarely blessed, and that act of kindness returned to you more than a hundredfold.

    I'm glad I visited your blog today.


  5. What a nice work relationship, not tainted with sexual undertones. The "bribe" changed him to an ally for life.

    Happy weekend :)


About Me

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I am the mother of 4 birth children (plus 3 others who lived with us) and grandmother of 2, all of them exceptional children. Married for 42 years, I grew up in Maine, live in California, and work in many places in education, linguistics, and program management. In my spare time, I rescue and tame feral cats and have the scars to prove it. A long-time ignorantly blissful atheist converted by a theophanic experience to Catholicism, I am now a joyful catechist. Oh, I also authored a dozen books, two under my pen name of Mahlou (Blest Atheist and A Believer-in-Waiting's First Encounters with God).

My Other Blogs

100th Lamb. This is my main blog, the one I keep most updated.

The Clan of Mahlou
. This is background information about various members of the extended Mahlou family. It is very much a work still in progress. Soon I will begin posting excerpts from a new book I am writing, Raising God's Rainbow Makers.

Modern Mysticism. This blog discusses the mystical in our pragmatic, practical, realistic, and rational 21st century world and is to those who spend some or much of their time in an irrational/mystical relationship with God. If such things do not strain your credulity, you are welcome to follow the blog and participate in it.

Recommended Reading List

Because I am blog inept, I don't quite know how to get a reading list to stay at the end of the page and not disappear from sight. Therefore, I entered it as my first post. I suppose that is not all that bad because readers started commenting about the books, even suggesting additional readings. So, you can participate with others in my reading list by clicking here.
I do post additional books as I read them and find them to be meaningful to me, and therefore, hopefully, meaningful to you. One advantage of all the plane traveling I do is that I acquire reading time that I might not otherwise take.