It’s often the little things that make a difference. Yamba resident of 17 years, Marie Francoise Broutin, was horrified when she learnt of the terrorist attacks in France. She immediately rang her nephew, Xavier, who works in Paris and, thankfully, he was not near any of the attack sites. But it was a seemingly inconsequential meeting that compelled her to write a short letter to the editor, expressing her gratitude for Australia’s response, including the lighting of the Opera House sails with the colours of the French flag. “I was coming into Coles and a lady recognised me,” Marie says. “I didn’t know her, but she recognised me. She told me ‘it’s horrible what happened in France’.” Her partner, Geoff Juergens, says people often “recognise her as the little French lady – she [the woman who empathised with Marie] was very consoling”.