We can be grateful only to a person. Gratitude and petition are possible only between an “I” and a “Thou.” We cannot thank a law, a board, or a company... gratitude is the expression of a personal encounter in human need.
But two persons, one of whom is situated so that he has something or can do something, while the other has not or cannot--these stand face to face. The one asks and the other is ready; the one gives and the other thanks; and the two are united by a human tie. Here gratitude is possible and it becomes a basis for community.
Romano Guardini (2014)