A Birthday Cake Mystery – The New York Times

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Dear Readers,

One morning this week, I opened my apartment door to find a bakery delivery — it looked like cake! The messenger had buzzed and gone. “Who sent me a present?” I was delighted. But wait. It was addressed to April. It was her birthday. It had a note. Three friends wished her a sweet birthday and were sad not to be with her!

I called the bakery, but they had no information since the order was placed through a delivery service. I called the service, but their phones were closed and my emails generated automated responses. I called the bakery again and told them that somewhere out there April was celebrating a birthday without cake, and they must help me find her. I texted my neighbors in my small building of 10 tenants. Does someone named April live here? (No, she does not.)

My daughter and I stared at the box. Baked goods and baking supplies are sold out everywhere in Manhattan. We thought about just eating it, but decided to wait. Maybe we would hear news from the bakery.

Later that afternoon, my intercom buzzed. “Uh, my name is April. You have a package for me?” It felt like a long-lost friend had arrived. “April, come up!” I said. I took the cake, still in its bakery bag, and set it on the landing by the elevator and stood several feet away at my door. Out of the elevator popped April, wearing a mask and carrying a white Chihuahua in her bag. She had lived in my apartment years before, and her friends mistakenly sent it to the wrong address. She had called the bakery and was told I had been trying to find her.

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I wished her Happy Birthday. She told me that the kindness of strangers is why she loved New York. But she also said, “I would have completely understood if you had eaten it!”

I shared that story on my Facebook page this week and was amazed at the response. Everybody, it seemed, was hungry for both cake and a happy story. I admit that solving the mystery of April’s birthday cake gave me such a lift. It was only later that I realized I was experiencing the “helper’s high” as explained in my recent column “The Science of Helping Out.”

For this week’s newsletter, I asked the Well team to gather stories that put a smile on our faces. You’ll find a great list below — I especially enjoyed the podcast with Ali Jaffe learning her grandmother’s not-so-secret family recipes.

And we’ve been working hard all week to gather the information you need to keep living well amid the coronavirus crisis. Gretchen Reynolds has answered many of your questions about exercise and the right social distance for a runner. We’ve created a User’s Guide to Face Masks. And Jane Brody is here to help with Managing Your Coronavirus Fears. Plus there’s lots more, because The Times is also helping out, and has made all of our coronavirus coverage free.

Keep smiling. Keep helping. And stay well!

— Tara Parker-Pope


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Source: Thanks https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/15/well/live/a-birthday-cake-mystery.html