Thursday, February 23, 2012 old entry

Saturday, November 5, 2011


One of the more interesting parts of being unemployed and broke was receiving food assistance from the state.  I had the little "Vision Card" that is supposed to look like a debit card but everyone knows what it is.

This post isn't about the people who watch everything as you take it out of your cart and put it up on the scanner...presumably judging how you are spending THEIR tax money.   Those people are actually few and far between, but when I did see one, I made sure to add on a pack of cigarettes at the end which I paid for with my own cash.   SO there.    Don't look at ME like I'm trashy.

Actually, this post is about a couple of times that people were extra nice because of the card, or maybe just because it was obvious I had my hands full with a kid and a cart full of groceries.   One time at Dillons my card wasn't working right, and they made me go to the front of the store and have the customer service desk re-scan all my items.  That was fun.  A gentleman who had been a colleague of mine for years, Tommy Johnson,  saw me there and walked up and quietly said "are you okay, do you need some help? can I pay for your groceries?"    I told him no,  said I was fine... just annoyed at the situation at the store.   His kind words and smile, as always, brightened the moment for me and I finished out the trip to the store with a much lighter step.

Another time, I was at Aldi,   and I loaded up my cart of stuff and went to check out, not realizing that it was a day too early and the month's money had not been put on my card yet.   I had to ask them to put things back until I got down to the bare minimum that I could cover with the $20 cash I had.   An old man asked me if he could pay for my stuff, and I said no, of course... I would be fine.    A few minutes later, I was loading my groceries in the trunk of my car and the man pulled up behind me and rolled down his window.   He said "I'm so sorry if I embarrassed you in there,  I just wanted to help if I could.".   I told him that I was fine, his offer was so kind and had absolutely made my day.   He seemed satisfied with that and drove off.

And it was true... it did make my day.  It was another of the many examples I've experienced of people's offers and gestures of kindness that I feel like I collect in my heart like little gifts to take out, unwrap, and examine during moments when I feel I'm not doing it all right... when I feel "unworthy"   My pile of gifts like this is huge and growing each day, and it's during my most challenging times that they seem to show up.

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"I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time . Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult." --E.B. White