So, in the midst of my running around today, I opted to stop at Trader Joe’s. I swung into the one on 3rd and LaBrea on my way back across town.
On a Side Note – Had I not needed a few items, I’d have avoided the area entirely, and I’d advise you do the same; there is crazy construction going on near there that will tie up traffic for the next month or so. Through May 23rd, I believe.
Anyway, I circle my way through the store, gather my few things, drink a dixie cup of coffee, try out a Latka with applesauce, and I come across that rare and beautiful thing: an open checker with no line. Awesome. (It always makes me a little suspicious, like ample free parking – I always think there must be some mistake.)
The checker and I are having a nice banter, trading ideas on making quick dinners out of the things in my basket, and he rings me up for a total of about 18 bucks. I reach for my wallet and … I don’t have my debit card on me. Oh, Crap. I have all of about two bucks in cash.
“OK, I’m sorry, but we have a problem,” I say, “I’m embarrassed, really. I don’t have my card on me for some reason. I so sorry, man. I must have taken it out at home, or something.” The clerk’s totally cool about it, I check my other pockets, kinda shrug sheepishly, apologize again, and make to leave, when I hear a voice.
“You don’t have any dough?” I hadn’t even seen the guy get in line behind me. “Don’t worry about it, I’ll cover you.”
The thought went through my mind in the kind of stunned silence before I found the wherewithal to speak. “What? No. That’s ridiculous, thank you, but I just forgot my card, I can come back. That’s very nice, but … Thank You, I’m okay…”
He would not be dissuaded, “No, it’s fine, it’ll come back around to me, it’s Good Friday, it’s no problem, I insist. Pay it back down the road, it’s all good…”
He walked over to grab some paper products, past the clerk, told him to add it to his stuff and then started giving him his things to ring up. I protested again, but he would not relent.
The clerk and I were stunned. Should I have protested a bit more and ultimately refused? Possibly. Frankly, and I mean this, it really kind of dazed me. So, still stunned, I thanked him profusely, shook both their hands and walked out the door. Outside was a woman collecting for a Homeless Charity, I stuffed that last two bucks of mine into the collection box and asked her to have a nice weekend. I drove home slack jawed, and started writing this post.
So, Hey Man, where ever you are, Thank You. I hope to not only pay your kindness forward, at some point, or whatever the phrase is, but I hope in so doing I can truly brighten and astound someone’s day in the way you did mine. I’m not even sure entirely what Good Friday is, or is meant to be about, but you’ve certainly made an impression on me about it. Lord knows my history with it is slightly checkered.
Here’s to keeping that Spirit of Kindness alive no matter the date, time or reason. (or denomination.)
Thanks Again, Man.