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.