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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.