If you’ve been hanging around me for a while, you’ve heard me say these three words a lot: say it now.

I seem to have been born with a bee in my bonnet about this. And the li’l bee was buzzing again this week. (Though I was wearing a cloche rather than a bonnet!)

Here’s what happened. My friend (and awesome writer!) Ashley, was in town from North Carolina a few weeks ago and we stopped by a local Indian Street Food eatery called Curry Up Now for a little nosh. We were kind of giggly and uncertain at the counter where we were supposed to be ordering. Luckily no one was waiting behind us. And fortunately, the young guy manning the register was patient and friendly. He didn’t seem to mind our waffling about what to order. Ashley mused out loud to me, “Hey, what’s a lassi?”

The young man, whom we shall call Peter — because that is his name— overheard her and quickly poured two little sample shot glasses of mango lassi (a yogurt drink) for us to try. (Thoughtful, right?!) The lassi was really delicious and when we finally ordered our food, we hemmed and hawed again — this time about whether we should also get a couple lassis. I said, “Let’s eat our food and maybe we’ll get a lassi and split it for dessert.”

Peter cheerfully took our order and sent us on our way.

Ashley and I sat and gabbed and ate our food. We were just about finishing up when we saw Peter headed our way with a couple of lassis in his hands. He smiled, set them on the table, and said, “I thought you might enjoy these.” Then he walked away.

Ashley and I were so surprised and overjoyed. It was just the sweetest thing. (I mean Peter’s gesture. The lassi was sweet, but almost beside the point!). We must have spent ten minutes talking about how delightful that was of him to gift us with the lassis. And then, throughout the night, we’d remember and be happy all over again. It was such a dear gesture and so completely unexpected. It truly made our day.

I don’t know if Peter makes a habit of surprising people like that. But his “say it now” to us seems like this: “Hey ladies, life is good. Let me remind you of the generosity of the universe.” (I’m not sure if those were the exact words in his head, but that’s what I heard while sipping my lassi!)

I was so excited to let Peter’s manager know that Peter had been so helpful and friendly. I promised myself that I would send a letter right away.

Days passed. And a couple weeks. I didn’t do it.

And then, that l’il bee started a’buzzin. Say. It. Now.

Oh yeah. Of course.

So I tweeted Curry Up Now to find out the manager’s name. And then I wrote a glowing letter about Peter and how awesome he was. (I didn’t actually mention the free lassis because I’m not sure if Peter bought them for us or merely treated us on behalf of Curry Up Now. So please don’t tell the manager about any of this. I hope he isn’t on my mailing list. Or, if he is, I hope he loves this free advertising and thinks it is well worth the cost of two mango lassis! Matt, if you’re reading this … please know that I will recommend Curry Up Now to everyone I know because of the joy Peter brought!)

Writing that letter brought up all the feelings of surprise and delight. I got to re-experience it. So my “say it now” to Peter was actually a “say it now” to myself, like a whisper of “isn’t life something?”

My hope is that the letter may have also brought some surprise joy to Peter. I think Matt the Manager liked it because he tweeted to tell me so.

(Here’s the tweet)

I am so glad I didn’t just “think” about writing a letter. But that I actually did it. (Better late than never!)

The thing is — these are small things. A coupla free lassis and a letter. You could shrug and say “so what.” But that’s just it. They are small things and they are so very very far from “so what.” That’s what the bee in my bonnet, er, cloche, is really all about.

I’m writing this to you and I am feeling awash with happiness just thinking about a moment in a restaurant when a young man brought us lassis. AND I’m thinking about how good it felt to write and send that letter. And to imagine the pat on the back Peter might have received. Maybe it was a delightful surprise in his life that day. Maybe the manager had a bad day and the letter brought him some small joy. We don’t know.

(Here’s part of my letter to Peter’s manager. See, I say how it is no small thing!)

All I’m saying is: is there someone in your life — stranger or friend— whom you could send a surprise thank you note to for something they did that was helpful or unexpected? Think about it: did you get extraordinary service somewhere? Did someone go out of their way for you? Did you receive an extra something that made your day? Did someone show up for you in a lovely way?

Could you take ten minutes and write up a l’il thank you note?

It won’t take much time. But I bet it will bring a big smile. (And remember, these small things are no small thing!)

Don’t wait. Say it now.

Dreaming of mango lassi,

P.S. Don’t forget the part of my story about “better late than never.” It doesn’t matter how much time has passed since someone did you a good deed. I just wrote a letter to Southwest Airlines thanking a flight attendant who was hilarious and generous on a flight I took several months ago. So what. Say it now — they’ll be even more surprised when they get your note.

P.P.S. You can thank someone for something more than once. Did you ever get a gift that you just love and use all the time? Years later, you can send a note saying, “I still love the warm and soft blanket you got me for Christmas in 2005. I use it all the time.” (Thank you to my sister Holly who inspired this postscript. I do love my warm and soft blanket and I use it all the time.)

P.P.P.S The Universe loves to send anonymous thank you notes. If you would like to request one to be sent to a friend or stranger of yours, comment on this blog post and leave your email address so I can connect with you. I’ll — I mean The Universe— will send notes to the first three requests. (If you aren’t on Facebook, you can email me your request.)