Our work picnic is tomorrow and I needed to pick up fried chicken to contribute. On a cash economy until payday, and I counted out about $65 in the car so I knew what I could spend.
So I got fried chicken and grabbed my necessities for the week–cream for coffee, toothbrushes, Chobani key lime, peanut butter crackers en masse for snacks at office, – frozen mac and cheese–and everything came to about $50. Got in line, and while the person before me was being rung up, I got my money. All I found was $41.
As the cashier started to ring me up, I asked him to hold on and only ring up what had to be refrigerated because I must have left money in my car. He asked me if I wanted to go to my car, and I just started blathering: “I had cancer this year, I am freaking out at the moment and having a hot flash, had radiation and surgery, I am so sorry, I can’t go back out to the car because I am really sweaty…” Like a total hot flash nervous breakdown and I could feel myself turning red.
And the cashier, Al was his name, tells me he is a Christian and it’s all going to be all right, and he hates to see someone upset on his line, and I have clearly had a bad year. And he says he will only ring up the cold stuff, and it will all be okay. And the woman behind me says that she likes Al, that he is a good guy.
And as he is ringing just the cold stuff, I am digging in my purse yet again, as I had for the past 5 minutes, and I find another $40. And Al tells me things work out when you don’t get upset. And he wants me to have a better year and maybe we will all feel better after November, anyway, because of the elections.
So I bought my toothbrushes and peanut butter crackers and all I had planned to. And Al said he wanted me to feel better and he will keep me on his prayer list.
When I got to the car, I was still shaken because that incident reminded me of so many broke single mom incidents when I was trying to pay for stuff for my kids. I guess they are never far from my thoughts. And then it struck me that Al, a stranger to me, was kinder to me right then than some people I loved and trusted were to me during my cancer and treatment. And that is sad in a way, too, maybe, but I sure am glad that there are people like Al out there in this world.
Thank you, Al at Shop-Rite.