Tiffany & Co.: A True Story Of Kindness From Inside The Blue Box

The smallest things can make the biggest difference.

I worked in sales at Tiffany and Co. for a couple of years.

No, not the one in this picture. I worked in one of the smaller stores in the U.S. 

Everyone at Tiffany & Co. has their favorite pieces. Some people love the "Return To Tiffany" collection. Others love the work of Elsa Peretti or Frank Gehry. Still others are fascinated by the diamonds. 

My favorite was something a little different...

This is a sterling silver telephone dialer. It was made by Tiffany & Co. in the late '40s.

I had a small collection of various versions of the dialer - which hasn't been made for years, incidentally - that I amassed as one of my random hobbies. 

Stylish ladies would use them to dial on rotary phones so they wouldn't chip a fingernail.

I just thought they were cool: a wonderful little artifact of a long-gone era.

The dialers were mentioned in the 1961 Audrey Hepburn classic "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

As the movie enjoyed revival after revival, fans of the movie became interested in the dialers.

I used to carry one or two with me as conversation starters for customers. They were relatively easy to find at flea markets or on eBay.

One morning, a young woman came into the store.

I overheard her asking one of my colleagues about how she might be able to get a telephone dialer: she was a fan of the movie. In my experience, people often remembered the scene, but I had never heard anyone ask specifically for a dialer. 

I happened to have one in my pocket.

So I walked over and mentioned I had overheard her and I gave her the one I had. 

She was obviously a fan of the movie. It seemed like a nice thing to do for someone who really, really wanted one.  

She didn't seem to believe that I was just giving it away, but I assured her I was, that it really was a gift for a fellow fan of the film. 

She said thank you and left. I thought nothing more of it. 

The next day, I came to work and someone told me she had left me a card. This is what it said on the inside.

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Dear _____,

I just wanted to thank you again for your gift.

My mother passed away two weeks ago and every little thing that makes me smile is a huge blessing from God!

Sometimes you never know how much something so small can mean so much to someone! So I thought I'd let you know.

Thank You Again,

(Signed)

I sold hundreds of thousands of dollars in jewelry every year, but the best thing that I ever did there was give something away.

I still have one silver dialer left. I keep it to remind me of what's important, to keep me grounded and to remind me that it's true: you "never know how much something so small can mean so much to someone."

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