So who says Swedes are cold, unfriendly and unkind? Well, you’re wrong if you do.
I know that for those who understand they’re not, I’m preaching to the choir. But for those of you screaming, “Hell yeah, I do,” I’ll never convince you otherwise…so the following little anecdote might be just another a feel-good story for the attentive choir.
Christmas feel-good stories are always in season, so bah humbug to the rest of you
Bengt, a friend in a remote suburb of Stockholm, was desperately looking for a Santa suit for his son. On Monday and Tuesday most schools will celebrate Lucia, a celebration of light during the dark days of December. Children dress up as little santas, gingerbread men and tiny Lucia characters.
He had tried all the usual places and everything was sold out. So he put out the call on Facebook. (He did get an offer from some American friends to lend him one but the commute was a bit of a hassle.)
In the end, by phone, Bengt found ONE suit in the right size in a shop even further away from Stockholm. So he asked the salesman if he could put the suit on hold. The man offered to help out one (maybe several) better.
He BOUGHT the suit with his own money and drove it to Bengt’s house saying that it was on his way home anyway (although in truth it was a 20-minute detour.) Bengt gratefully both rounded up very generously but also threw in a bottle of glögg (seasonal, Swedish mulled wine) all the while thanking him.
The man tried hard to refuse the wine and after reluctantly accepting it parted saying “Thank YOU for letting me do you this act of kindness.”
So many think I’m crazy when insist that Swedes are kind and generous. But they are. They really are.