Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Random Act of Kindness

Today I decided to pop into Wally World and return something when I picked up some photos I had done of the grand kids to put on the 'kid' wall at home...

I could've raced ahead of this man in the check out, but for some reason I didn't.  I thought I could see him struggling a bit.

I could have skipped that line like others and gone to the service desk.  I had 4 photos to pay for.


I stood quietly behind this gent and then he turned to me and said "I hope you aren't mad at me, you only have one thing, wanna go first?"  

It was immediately apparent that he'd had a stroke or some sort of damage.  His speech was poor and his mouth was tilted to the side when he spoke.

I said, "No, go ahead, I'm fine."  I didn't add my favorite line my father used to use.
"You sure?"
Me:  "I'm sure."
Him:  "You know I went to the hospital here in town and they said I was gonna die in five months or have heart attack."  He shrugged.  

I wasn't sure of what to say.

Him, putting groceries on the belt a bit shakey. "I went to St. Francis."  

He stopped and began to put all of his items on the belt.  Now I knew what he meant.  He was in the 20 or less isle and he had 20 or more items.  Didn't matter to me.  For some reason I wasn't bothered.
Him:  "I went to St. Francis Hospital. I hope I did this right, I need 3 dollars for the cab."  He began to look worried and I saw by the items he was buying that he was choosing a surprisingly healthy diet.

I asked, "And what happened at St. Francis?"  Honestly, I wanted to know.
Him, shrugging.  "Oh they kept me over night.  It is going to cost me.  But they gave me different medicine..."  He mumbled and clutched his cash.
I lifted my hands as if asking for more.

"Oh I think they don't like me in THAT hospital [meaning the one in our town which has a notorious record of being not so very good].  They said I was gonna die."  He stopped talking to me as the cashier rang up his total.
$30.

His shoulders fell.  He looked over his shoulder and around then back at her.  He said something I couldn't hear.  The cashier looked embarrassed and began to pull items slowly from his cart.
She subtracted the item and told him the total.  He looked crestfallen.
She took out the orange juice and told him that it only took off $1.99. 
He sighed.
"I really need that," he slurred out.

I put my hand in my pocket and felt the $11.00 I'd gotten as a refund.  Oh hell.
I couldn't believe I was doing this.

I stepped forward and asked the cashier what he needed to make his purchase.  And to have cab fair too.
She look startled.  "Eleven dollars."
I put the cash in her hand and said, "Take this, he needs his groceries."

She turned to the man and put his orange juice back in his bag.  She said to him.
"It is okay now.  It is paid for, okay?"
She motioned at me.  "She paid for it."

His eyes grew very wide.
"Oh.  Thank you.  You didn't have...I..."
I motioned and shrugged, "I got a refund," I offered not knowing why I had done what I had done.

When I looked up the cashier smiled at me, as did the man with the very crooked grin.  Now I was embarrassed.
He left.
I paid for my photos. 
The cashier leaned over and said with a glowing smile, "You are a wonderful person.  Feels good doesn't it?"

Now it was my turn to mumble.
"Um, sure.  I just couldn't let him go without groceries today."  I swept up my purchase and wondered why I sometimes do the things I do.

Then it struck me.
I'd just done A Random Act of Kindness.
And it felt okay.

5 comments:

Lori Skoog said...

You did it because it was the right
thing to do and you are a compassionate person. That man will not forget it, nor will you. Such a sweet post. Thank you for sharing. If only more people would do this.

The Three Muleteers said...

A lovely post and very inspirational, it is the little decisions that we make each day that make a difference to the world, this act made me smile and I'm sure many others!

gtyyup said...

Oh geez...you got me crying first thing in the mornin'...you're just an awesome person! I would have liked to seen his smile~

Val said...

It honestly didn't hit me until I got home what I had done.
I told my husband about it this morning and he offered to replace the $11.

Such a small thing, yet a huge ripple effect.

There simply isn't enough kindness in this world.

Reddunappy said...

Great story!! Good for you!

I tried to help an older man a few weeks ago, he didnt have enough money to pay for his onions and tomatoes. his pride got in the way though, he wouldnt take my help. But I tried.