What we do when no one is looking…

Rob runs Café Velo, one of the loveliest breakfast and lunch cafes here in Cork, Ireland.

When I’m there, it’s as if I’ve walked back in time to when I lived in the 15th arrondissement in Paris.

Pastries are arranged behind the counter glass with artistic flair. The servers are just the right blend of warmth and chatty and the tea is served in delicate china.

I ran into Rob unexpectedly this week downtown – in a rare moment when he was not in his cafe. We stopped and chatted a bit and I casually asked about the single large book I glimpsed in the white shopping bag he was holding.

Rob smiled and told me the book was for an elderly customer. The man, in his eighties, reported in to Velo every morning for his daily scone.

Except for this week when he suddenly did not appear.

Rob inquired and learned the customer had had a stroke. And was in the hospital.

The man has no family to speak of. So Rob went out of his way on his own time to buy a book he thought the man would enjoy during his recovery. Now Rob was off to the hospital to pay the man a visit.

I was touched by the story and asked if I could write about it. Rob looked at me a bit embarrassed, but said, “Sure, go for it.”

So I am.

I want to contrast a man like Rob with another man.

Rob was simply doing a kind thing. Without, in our day of Social Media marketing, even posting about it. Doing a kind thing when no one, he thought, was looking.

Compare that with that now notorious video, of a certain person running for US president objectifying women when the women weren’t present. Then he steps out of the van and “politely greets” one of the same women he had just talked so horribly about.

What we do when we think no one is looking says a lot about our true character, doesn’t it?

Not all men are the same. Rob’s act when he thought no one was looking was kind. And it was more than caring for a regular paying customer, it was caring of a fellow human being on this planet.

The more we can strive to get past race, religion and gender, and consider that we’re all just people together on this planet, perhaps we can all be a little kinder too.

Thank you, Rob, for a lesson all of us can learn.



I’m so grateful you are reading my essays. I train, consult and speak about leadership, better communications, business and life empowerment. Please click ‘Follow’ and reach out to me directly to support you or your organization via LinkedIn, TwitterFacebook and at GinaLondon.com


4 thoughts on “What we do when no one is looking…

  1. Hi Gina,

    I love to receive your news adventures. It reminds me when I took your photos in LIT a few years ago and you were so very nice to work with. 🙂

    Many Happy adventures. Shauna

    Morning Star Photography Studio, Boherlode, Ballyneety, Co. Limerick, Ireland. PH: 00353-61-450709 Mob: 00353- 87- 230 4737 http://www.morningstar.ie


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally agree. Let me tell you a little story about my mother. I was eating something with my fingers (it was not fried chicken) and chewing with my mouth open. My mother stopped me. But I don’t do it in public, I protested. If you do it in private, you’ll forget and do it in public. So don’t let there be any difference in how you act at home and how you act when you’re out in the world. This is just a small example (but one that sticks in my mind) of what she taught me about public-private behaviour. While not strictly true (I mean, I do walk around in my PJs on Saturday mornings), it is largely true. Who you are when no one is looking, is who you are. Thanks Gina.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Irene, for sharing your own story about eating something with your fingers, etc! I am sorry I didn’t see this until today. Because now your comment about how it wasn’t “fried chicken” made me completely think of how Trump tweeted out that photo of him eating KFC with a fork.. Make that President-elect Trump! The difference a couple of days make. Hugs to you! G


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