How to Comfort Someone from 1000 Miles Away

chicken-noodle-soupAround 6 years ago, I was in a long-distance relationship. The woman I was dating lived about 700 miles away–much too far for a quick, spontaneous drive.

One night she came down with a terrible cold. On the phone I could tell that she was miserable, and I was completely helpless to make her feel better.

So I got online and looked up all of the grocery stores in her area to see if any of them offered home deliveries. I thought I could order some steaming, fresh soup from their deli and have them deliver it to my girlfriend within a few hours.

Unfortunately, none of them offered this service. It was before the time of places like Postmates and Grubhub–they may have served that purpose too.

On the recent premiere of season 8 of Shark Tank, some entrepreneurs pitched an idea that’s very similar to this (though with their own twist). It’s called Spoonful of Comfort.

It’s pretty much what I described above, except that you’re ordering from a centralized service, not a local deli. That’s good because they control the quality of the food. Though it’s also bad because the food can’t arrive within a few hours. At best it’s overnight delivery, which costs nearly $40.

My other concern with Spoonful of Comfort is that I think it tries to do too much. The $70 box comes with 64 ounces of soup, 6 rolls, 6 cookies, and even a ladle. It’s a beautiful production.

But in the moment when you’re trying to comfort someone who’s sick or sad, you don’t need that much stuff. A bowl of soup has the same effect as the $70 box of goodies. Part of it is about the soup itself, but the other part is the ability to reach out across the boundary of distance. It’s like a home-delivery hug. One hug is fine; 64 ounces of hug is overkill. And it’s too slow.

This is my opinion, of course. I’m curious about yours. Think about the last time someone you care about–someone who lives far away from you–could really use a hug. Particularly a hug that will warm their belly, not just their heart. How would you look to deliver it?

7 thoughts on “How to Comfort Someone from 1000 Miles Away”

  1. Awww… That’s sweet of you. Even though, no soup delivery was possible at that time, it was still nice. It’s the thought that counts.

    Last time I ordered something online like that was for my friend/college roommate’s birthday. It wasn’t delivered, it’s something she had to go and pick up at the store. My friend/other college roommate pitched in to gift her a birthday basket with wine and snacks while we are in the Midwest and she on the east coast.

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  2. I’m doubtful it works as a business model. 20-odd years ago, when the interwebz was in its infancy, I was a member of a (text-only) self-help newsgroup. A friend of mine my age (26 or so) died, in fairly horrible circumstances.

    I went and met for dinner with mutual, and understanding, friends. We talked bout her, ate, and it was just a little bit better. Then I went home, and sat alone, and it very much was not better. At all.

    So I screamed my pain and grief and loss at the newsgroup, and though the night Americans (I’m in the UK) sent me their sympathies. Some wrote long screeds, some just a single word.

    And it all helped. Every last word helped, every thought, every inane message. These people didn’t know her, or, some of them, me. But they made an effort. And, Lord, it helped.

    So, I learnt that actually, it doesn’t matter what you say, or do. What matters is that you say, or do, *something* – and that that something should arrive *now*, or as soon as possible.

    I will often send , on Facebook, or Twitter. I know it’s not much, and in awful circumstances, it sometimes feels entirely inadequate. But a person taking time to care always helps.

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  3. Lucky girl. I would probably send a care package or have amazon deliver ice cream. Apparently they can get cold ice cream to you in 30 minutes. Anyone want ice cream?

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