Love Author and Tiffany’s

I like  passionate people. Once I met a loving, passionate man at Tiffany’s.

When I was in college, I had tons of part time jobs. (I’ve always loved to work!) One pre-Christmas season, I worked as a page at Tiffany’s — the fabulous big store on Fifth and 57th. My job was to answer the clerk’s tapping on the counter to collect the  little capsules full of cash and send them through these fast  little tubes. Then I’d wait for the receipt and run that back to the cashier. I haven’t been in  Tiffany’s in probably 20 years but I’m doubting they still use this lovely, archaic payment system.

Any way, about this passionate person.

One day Leo Buscaglia came in to the silver department at Tiffany’s. He was with a couple of younger men. They were just browsing. He was incredibly nice to everyone. (Go figure, an inspirational speaker who spoke and wrote about  Love oozed love.)  

I knew who he was because I’d seen his specials on Channel 11, Chicago’s public television. But no one paid any attention to him. New Yorkers are notoriously blasé about their celebs. I introduced myself to Leo and said I was a fan.

“You know,” he said, “You are all so nice here, you should wear name tags so we can get to know you and thank you personally.”

“Yes,” I said. I liked the idea, because as far as anyone knew, I was just a page. No one knew my name. I thought I’d bring it up with the woman in the back room who hired me (whose name I no longer remember).

But the next time I was in the back room clocking out, the spinster-ish woman told me I must no longer wear my hair in a French Braid at Tiffany’s. “It’s just not right,” she said, implying some kind of tawdriness. I didn’t get it.

I quit after the Christmas season. I’d gotten a job as a front desk clerk at the Hilton International in the World Trade Center.

But Leo Buscaglia was the highlight of my Tiffany’s career.

I’m reminded of him when I get inspirational quotes like this one. “Death is a challenge. It tells us not to waste time… It tells us to tell each other right now that we love each other,” from Leo Buscaglia.

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