Boothbay Harbor House of Pizza’s Konstantina Rigas was recently praised in a letter to the editor by Florida-bound Nathan Snyder for delivering a pizza to his mother, Ann, on her Christmas Eve birthday. Like many local eateries, BHOP does not deliver; however, Rigas made an exception.
“Dina heard me and my situation loud and clear and said even though they are not delivering she would be happy to take my mother an order,” Snyder said in his letter. “I thanked her repeatedly and (this) was done with a smile on my face.”
Shortly after the delivery, Snyder’s mother called him back elated by the surprise which had a birthday cupcake and balloon along with it. “I did not ask her to do any of this … Dina went above and beyond to make an old lady happy on her birthday.”
Rigas said she received many messages on social media congratulating and praising her, but she maintained an act of kindness does not just go a long way – it’s necessary.
“You just do it … because you're supposed to do it, we're supposed to be kind. If you can be kind to someone, why not do it? … And it's her birthday – everybody needs a little cake and a balloon on their birthday, right?”
Rigas said despite BHOP not delivering due to the breadth of the peninsula and small staff, she still does her best to sneak out and deliver an order to those who find it hard to get around. She said that kind of outreach is something she was raised to do and the kindness behind it is something that was upheld from kindergarten through high school.
The Rigas family’s Greek heritage also plays a huge role. The Greek word philotimo explains the community outreach the family is known for. The closest translation to English is “love of honor.” “It's your morals, the way you grew up. In school every day I would hear about the golden rule, treat others the way you want to be treated. We learned that's the number one rule in life and if you can live by that, that's great.”
“The gist of it is that you're supposed to love the person next to you and you're supposed to go above and beyond for any person. It doesn't matter if they're the greatest person in the world or the worst person in the world, rich or poor, this or that. You're supposed to do it.”
Rigas said Snyder’s mother spending her birthday and Christmas alone due to the pandemic spoke deeply to her as her mother died last year near the family’s hometown in Greece. Ever since, Rigas has been trying to let her mother’s kindness and generosity work through her in the house her parents built.
“It's called the House of Pizza, but it's literally a home for us all. I tell customers all the time we don't have any family in this town, in this country actually, so our customers are our family members. It's a home for whoever needs it. That's how my mom always was … Anytime someone was sick, we'd whip up a tray of lasagna or make some homemade soup and bring it over to people. I have so many stories of my mom checking in on people or bringing them food … A mom is a soft spot for me, so if it's for a mom I'm definitely going to be there.”