March 2nd – At the grocery store

I briskly walked to the express line at Safeway with my one bag of a frozen Bertolli Pasta Meal for Two that I can quickly heat up for a dinner that should have already been prepared by now. It seems that all day, I have been 30 minutes behind and now, as I glance at my watch, it is already 7pm. As I wait to buy my one item, the line behind me grows and I become aware that this line, thought called express, is not moving at all. “Ugh,” I sigh, just wanting to quickly pay and head home, change into my jeans, sweatshirt and slippers and heat up this dinner in a bag.

“You don’t want it?” the cashier asked the diminutive dark-haired middle-aged women who is presently checking out. Then I see the tomatoes the cashier was inquiring about are now returned to the scale. She pushes buttons and the number on the screen goes from $12.48 to $8.89. Next a head of cauliflower is scanned and the woman, holding a $10 bill in her left hand makes a motion with her right hand. “You don’t want this either?” I can hear the annoyance in the cashier’s voice and I start to be annoyed too by the extra time it is taking to scanned and then unscan.
Then I glance at the woman. I glance at her quivering $10 bill and on impulse, I pull out a $20 bill and say to the cashier, “Let her keep it. I’ll pay for it.
The cashier snaps, “I don’t know how to do that.”
Calmly, I reply, “Just keep the cauliflower; rescan those tomatoes and then key in that she is paying $30 – her $10 and my $20. Then give me all the change.” The cashier listens and obeys, adds the veggies to her bag and gives me $16.73 in change.
“Gracias,” the woman replies, lowering her eyes.
“Enjoy!” I reply and move forward to have my one item scanned as the women leaves with her grocery bag.
As I walk back to my car, I think how lucky I am. I am used to having cash in my wallet and having money in the bank and having a credit card to use. I don’t think twice about having enough money to cover my grocery bill.
All day I ran 30 minutes behind schedule. Now I am glad. Otherwise, I would have missed being behind this woman. I am glad, in my hurry, I could slow down to help out with a mere $3.27.

7 thoughts on “March 2nd – At the grocery store

  1. make.share.give says:

    So sweet! After my trip through the express lane yesterday, an extra bag was in with my groceries- ten pounds of potatoes and sweet potatoes. I returned them to the store hoping the lady in front of me didn't make it all the way home before she realized.


  2. Judy says:

    What a great way to pay it forward! When our lives are so busy and we're in a hurry, we truly need to stop and think what other people may be going through. Thanks for sharing your RAK.


  3. lromainebrown says:

    Thanks for this moment. Certainly taking money off the table gives us the room to be creative and solve problems. How fortunate we are!
    I can see a parallel between the woman who was buying the vegetables, now expensive to the point of luxury for some, with her ten dollar bill and the students who come into my intervention classroom. Their teachers (the cashier) have lost patience with them because they don't move at the whole class speed, they can't answer the questions posed without support, and many are on the verge of just leaving with very little, if we don't slow down, be very generous and creative.


  4. Laura M. says:

    Thanks for sharing your story! What a great reminder of how much we have and how fortunate we are. I'm sure you were an immense blessing to that woman. You most definitely played a big role in a “slice” of her life that day!


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