A Warm Story For A Cold Day

It was a freakishly cold afternoon — the kind where it takes longer to drive, where it hurts to take air in and crystallizes your breath when it’s time to let it out. Sidewalks become double-dog-dare obstacle courses of ice patches and slick grit. The storm was over, but what it left behind was nothing short of a trudge.

A few of us were coming back from lunch. Our hands were stuffed in our pockets and our chins and noses were tucked as deep into our scarves as we could get them.

In Boise, the downtown salon and the franchise administrative offices share a door on the first floor of a historic building just a few blocks away from the Capitol. After entering the wrought iron gates adorned with signature pink lunchboxes, there’s a small lobby and wide stairs leading to LunchboxWax. At the top of the stairs, the franchise team works to the right; the waxologists ply their skill and shine to the left. Sharing this common entryway on the main level gives the executive staff many chances to see LunchboxWax guests every day. It’s a gift for those who aren’t waxologists. These brief encounters offer daily connections to the people who choose LunchboxWax waxologists for their services; they're the lifeblood of LunchboxWax, the source of our success.

As the few of us walked into the small foyer on this frigid afternoon, we saw a duo we’ve come to love. At the elevator was a lovely woman easily in her 80s, swaddled in a big coat that almost looked heavier than she was. Behind this quiet, small figure was her devoted daughter who, like clockwork, took her mother to Lumi for waxing services each month.

I was surprised to see them today. I couldn’t imagine how this sweet woman could maneuver her silver walker over the lumps of ice, even with help. But there they were, and it warmed my heart.

Trouble is, the weather also decided to wreak havoc on the inner workings of the old building and seemed to render the elevator useless. The “up” button lit up, but nothing moved. All was as quiet inside the LunchboxWax foyer, just as it was outside in the cold.

We frantically fiddled with the buttons, but it didn’t take much time to realize that the elevator was as frozen as the rest of the city. Without it, our gentle guest just wasn't going anywhere, either. The steps were too much.

I hustled to my office to get the number of the elevator company, knowing full well service wasn’t going to happen quickly (another tick in the things-that-won't-happen-quickly column that day). On the way, I popped in to tell Lumi that her guest was trying to get to the salon to no avail and that she may want to go downstairs to say hello.

What happened next is why I love LunchboxWax.

Wait. Let me clarify. There are a guhzillion reasons I love this place, but this little moment in time paints a picture for everyone else who wonders why my eyes light up like holiday lights every time I talk about the way I spend my days — and more importantly — the kinds of people I spend them with. After all, we’re a waxing salon. We rip out hair (albeit extremely well). We’re in the beauty industry. At first pass, it has the potential to sound a bit surface-centric, although the enthusiasm and honest affection I have for what I do must prove we’re more about smoothing the skin of everyone with hair.

Back to the story.

“If she can’t come to me, I’ll go to her,” said Lumi, her head cocked to the right, her smile tilting with it, and her hands laid out side by side as if she was presenting the idea on a platter — a sight we were accustomed to seeing whenever Lumi had a great idea.

And with that and her wax pot, she met her faithful guest downstairs and set up shop where there are a few white leather chairs and little else.

They sat together as they usually do — the guest and daughter sitting still, and Lumi working with a gentle grace. Lumi may have been outside of her usual work environment, but she was absolutely in her element.

And sure, it was a wax, but it was more. Lumi’s desire to take care of her guest made this frigid day warm and wonderful. It lit up our insides and validated what a small measure of kindness can do. Our sweet guest and her darling daughter were thankful, and Lumi, we’re thankful for you, too.