I had a good lunch today at Panera with my parents and a friend. Among many other things we discussed old Hollywood, and the famous soda fountain on Hollywood and Vine where Lana Turner was discovered one day. (I knew the story from watching I Love Lucy, still the best sitcom ever.)
After a while I noticed a man sitting at a table a good twenty feet away, looking intently at me. He glanced away when I made eye contact and seemed to be writing something in a notebook-- but later I noticed him glancing at me again. He had no expression on his face. I thought he must disapprove of me; perhaps he'd overheard a snatch of our conversation and disagreed with what was being said. How unfair of him, I thought, he doesn't really know what we were talking about!
Then the man got up and suddenly approached our table. "Excuse me," he said. He was holding a page torn from a notebook. "The Cherokee have a rule that you don't steal a person's picture, so I'm going to give it to you." He handed me the page and immediately left. And it was a hand-drawn portrait of me!
What a kind person! He made my day.
Here's the icing on the cake. The picture was signed "Phil Mendez". I Googled him, not expecting much, and what do you know! He's a big artist who's worked on lots of cartoons (including many I loved when I was young-- Flintstones, The Jestons, Scooby-Doo...) and written a book that sold 1.7 million copies. It's definitely the same guy because here's his picture. And here's a fun page that begins with a story about him. This is the man who decided to sit in a coffee shop and draw meeeeee!
I'd be happy even if I didn't know who he was. Such a pleasing incident: I thought he disliked me but he was actually deciding to draw me. I'm glad he dared to approach a stranger and give her a gift.