A Fish Tale

I recently had a nice experience with a woman who truly has the proverbially “heart of gold.” I did not know her, nor her, me. I had never met her nor done business with her, but she was willing to go the extra step to help me out when it was needed.

heart of gold

I have a cousin, with whom I am close and keep in touch with regularly, especially during these challenging times.  She lives alone in a small apartment and is reluctant to venture out, preferring to get all food and necessities delivered.


Yesterday, during our phone conversation, she said, “I would like a goldfish, I already have a bowl.”  I know that pets (like bicycles and jigsaw puzzles) are selling like crazy during Covid and didn’t know how she could accomplish her wish without leaving her apartment.  I told her I would contact some pet shops near her in Queens and see if they would deliver the fish to her. 

pet store

After calling one large chain, I was told that it was not possible to deliver live animals and immediately knew that this was going to be one request gone unanswered. I tried another shop and this time a young lady, I’ll call her Beverly, listened to my plaintive story.  “Oh, that’s so sad,” she said, “let me call you back; I have a long line of people I’m helping now.”

Three hours later, while on my bike ride, I received a call from her and again she was sympathetic, kind and understanding.  “We’re not supposed to deliver live animals,” she said, “but this has to be an exception, I’ll drive it there myself!”  She also said, “It’s best to have 2 fish so they can keep each other company.” I gave her my cousin’s name, address and phone number and told her to phone me if she encountered any difficulty. When I asked for the charge, she brushed it off.  I said, “Listen, Beverly, I’m going to send you a check anyway, you might as well tell me how much I owe you.”  She reluctantly gave me the price of the two goldfish and food (under $6).

Goldfish by Matisse

She asked if my cousin could meet her outside (parking is a real challenge in that neighborhood) and I apologized but said she couldn’t.  “OK,” said Beverly, “I’ll bring someone along with me to sit in the car.” 

Next thing I knew, she phoned me that my cousin wasn’t picking up her phone; I assured her that she should just enter the building and ring the buzzer.  Presently, she texted me that all was accomplished.

My cousin was thrilled and told me that the woman who brought the fish set it up for her and was very kind.

I put a $25 check in the mail to Beverly and ended my Thank You note with the following remark: 

thank you

There is a Yiddish word for what you did … a Mitzvah!  A good deed.  Whatever your role in your family – mother, daughter, wife, sister – I am certain that those who know you are blessed to have you in their lives.

As I was to have her on the other end of the phone!


  1. It is so nice to hear stories of good people going out of their way. Thanks for sharing.

  2. M. Flax

    There are unbelievably kind (chesed) people in this world. Maybe more than we think. We just don’t hear enough about them. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

  3. Lewis Baden

    Really a wonderful fish tale!

    • Thanks for reading and commenting! I’m sure you still remember our 3 goldfish! One was a BIG catfish we named Blacky.

  4. Susan Metcalfe

    I’d have sent a $20 bill and no return address. She might not cash the check. AND I still have some faith in the post office! Lovely lady.

  5. Linda levine

    This is a story worthy of O’Henry and told well enough to bring me to 😭 Tears!
    The poor frightened lonely cousin, The sainted Beverly, the menschadik Arlene,
    and the 2 little carp. The delightful illustrations….all heartwarming in the terrible Time
    Of Covid

  6. Larry

    A fish tale if there ever was one

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