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Good People Still Exist

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I have witnessed it firsthand and am here to tell you there are still good people in the world. Good people who with very little inconvenience to themselves step up and help those in need, which leaves me to wonder, in the constant hustle of our stress-filled lives, why more of us don’t do the same.

Traveling through my week at light speed, I landed on Saturday morning, which typically consists of a multitude of errands and most importantly the necessary ritual of a steaming cup of liquid energy courtesy of Starbucks, which provides just the boast I need to complete the tasks ahead of me. This particular Saturday landed me at the dollar store, not one of my normal stops, but nonetheless necessary. Dash and grab had been the plan, but that was not in the cards, finding my way to the check out with only three items, I found myself number seven in line with one cashier on duty. I contemplated ditching my small purchase, but began to feel guilty; the dog really needed some new toys, I told myself, suck it up.

I waited running through my mind the remaining chores on my list for the day finally making it to the register. Only one customer ahead of me, I was almost there ready to hit the road—always in a hurry, always a list a mile long to complete. The cashier I could see was having difficulty getting an approval on the customer’s credit card, the customer insisting there was money there to cover her purchase and pleaded with the cashier to try again. Trying not to stare, I pretended to be intrigued by the multiple choices they offered in chewing gum and batteries while feeling sorry for the woman and her embarrassing predicament.

A customer behind me I could see was as frustrated as I was peering around me as if anything could be done.

“Mom,” I heard her teenage daughter say, “She is buying vegetables and eggs.”

“Excuse me,” says the woman, “do you mind if I step in front of you for a moment?”

“Not at all,” I said, curious about her plan, expecting her to complain the line was not moving fast enough.

“What is the problem,” she asked the cashier?

“Her card won’t go through, I can’t force it, I can’t do anything,” replied the frustrated cashier.

“There is money there I know it,” said the customer, nearly in tears.

The woman surveyed the items waiting to be bagged and pulled out her credit card.

“Please use my card, how much are we talking here?”

“Twenty-seven dollars,” replied the cashier.

The woman turned and said to the total stranger, “this one is on me."

Obviously dumbfounded by the kind gesture, she hung her head and said “thank you."

A hush fell over the line as the people who only a few seconds before had been complaining, witnessed with me the kind act, and I wondered if they were thinking the same thing as me: “Why didn’t I think of that?”

The woman was after all buying vegetables, eggs—food staples to feed herself and her family. She wasn’t there buying candy or soda, she was buying food. Twenty-seven dollars stood between her and the ability to provide nourishment to her family. Shame began to wash over me. Twenty-seven dollar—why had it not occurred to me to do what the kind generous stranger did? No answer came, but certainly a new awareness did. I promised myself if ever in that situation again, I would remember the woman’s kindness and the amazing lesson she taught her teenage daughter.

I am certain her daughter will always remember her mother’s kindness that day, as all of us who were standing in line will. She taught her daughter that human kindness, whether shared with a stranger or someone you know, is still human kindness, and if you can lift the heart of one individual just for a small moment in time, twenty-seven dollars is a small price to pay.


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