Lately, my colleague and me, we have got into exploring all the restaurants and fine dining places near our work for lunch. We rate them based on various factors and when we are out of ideas or options for new a new place(or just not in a mood to experiment), we just go back to the one that was amongst already visited and top rated. So, being a vegetarian, I would always look for restaurants that have a variety to offer to me (which means at least more than 2 options to choose from!!)
So we found this cafe on Yelp, with a good review and not a very pricey status. Its not a fancy place, not an over the top presentation and more importantly not too far from work. On entering the cafe, while I was frantically looking for a menu, we were greeted with a bright, smiling face of the lady who runs that place. Not only did she brief us with the menu herself, but also asked if I was a veggie and offered to cook up something if I wanted to have it. Turns out I could mix and match the veggies to make me an "unique" sandwich for myself, just like at any other sandwich place. We decided to continue with this cafe and ordered for our respective choices. Right from telling her our choices, to paying for the same, she gave us all her attention. While we were digging into our sandwiches, I noticed that every person who came into the cafe, she made a personal conversation with that person. She did not have the "cliche" restaurant-style welcome phrase. On finishing with the meal, while we were headed out, she came back to check on us and also thanked us for coming in.
All an all this was a very nice experience and I made up my mind that I would want to go back there again. But the entire ride back to the office I was looking for a good reason to tell my colleague why I would want to go back there ... and just when we reached, it struck me ...
This whole experience was very synonymous to the story "The Secret Ingredient" featured in "Chicken Soup for Woman's Soul", which I read a long long time ago. In the story, the mother had the usual recipe for cooking food but at the end she would always sprinkle a "secret" ingredient which no one knew about but everyone thought that gave food a "different taste". Similarly, this place also had the same sandwiches as any other place, but also a secret ingredient which made the difference. That secret ingredient was "love and warmth". Or like they say in the story,"Just sprinkle it with little love to make it special"
Bottom line, warmth and love were the "secret ingredients" which were added to my sandwich. And the best part, it was all given to me at no extra cost!