While I was on my lunch the other day, I ran up the road to the golden arches to get a cup of oatmeal, and the young lady in front of me was talking to the cashier at the window. I heard her say she could just run to her sister’s house and get her sister’s debit card and she’d be right back. I assumed she’d forgotten her card so I leaned out my window a bit and asked if she’d forgotten it. She didn’t hear me, so I shouted a little louder, but she still didn’t hear me.
After asking about three times and her not being able to hear me, I was going to give up, but something tugged at me, and it’s at those times that I really listen. Something told me I needed to get her attention, so I beeped my horn a couple short times. She looked up with a worried look on her face and I smiled and waved so she’d know I wasn’t angry with her for holding up the line. I asked if she’d forgotten her card, and she had this look on her face that made it clear her card was declined, not forgotten. So I didn’t ask again. I just smiled and said, “Don’t worry. I’ve got it.” Her eyes got as big as saucers and she said, “What??” I repeated myself, and she leaned WAY out of the car and asked, “Ma’am, are you sure? Are you ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY SURE??” I smiled and said, “Yes. I’ve got it.” She was in complete shock, and the cashier at the window was, too. I heard her tell the customer, “That’s real kindness right there.”
I pulled up to the window and the cashier was all smiles, as was her helper, and they were just so pleased and surprised that I’d pay for the woman’s food without even knowing how much it was going to cost. I told her it didn’t matter…then I got worried that maybe she was buying for the entire U of I football team! BUT, I was always taught that you dance with the one that brung ya, so I smiled and said I had it covered no matter what. It was $20. That’s a lot for a lot of people, so I don’t make light of that. I smiled and said it was absolutely fine and told her to not forget to charge me for my order as well. They were so excited that they almost did forget! As I was pulling away to the next window to get my food, the lady smiled and said, “You’ve done a good thing that not many others would do. You’ve blessed someone and you’ve also been blessed.” I smiled and thanked her for her kind words and told her we all need help sometimes, and we have to help each other out.
I pulled up to the next window and that lady was smiling from ear to ear. She asked me if I was ‘doin my dues’ and I just said, “No, I’m just doing the right thing.” She smiled even bigger and then thanked me for being a blessing to someone else. I was getting a little teary eyed by this point because I really and truly just wanted to do something nice for someone who was in a tough spot. I’ve been in her shoes before, countless times, so I just wanted to help her, I didn’t want her to leave, feeling defeated and embarrassed. I wanted her to know someone cared.
While the cashier and I were talking, the young lady parked her vehicle, and she walked back to my car and up to my window. She looked like she was about to fall apart. She was nearly in tears, shaking, as she thanked me over and over again. I kept telling her it was ok and that I’ve been there, and that I was glad I was able to help. She said, “I just didn’t know what I was going to do. I have my kids in the car and I just didn’t know.” I smiled and told her it was totally fine, I get it, and I’ve been in her shoes. She just kept thanking me over and over. She was still shaking and fighting the tears, and if my door wasn’t practically up against the building, I would’ve jumped out and hugged the stuffings out of her, but I couldn’t, so I just kept smiling and telling her it was ok. She was in shock and disbelief as she walked away. I turned to get the rest of my order and the woman in the window was very quiet and was obviously moved by everything that had unfolded, and she just thanked me again for being a blessing to that girl, and just quietly said, “Thank you” as I pulled away.
I left feeling completely humbled by the whole experience, and I don’t share this to let everyone know I did a good thing. I share this in the hope that it will inspire someone to do something for someone/anyone else without being asked to do it. Don’t wait to be asked for help. Offer it. After all we really are all in this together.