The Gift

Every time I go into the grocery store I bring in one of the shopping carts from the parking lot. I get the kids to do it too, if they’re with me.

It’s not that we’re a bunch of do-gooders. It’s that I owe it. When my kids were little, I was one of those people who always left the cart in the lot. I felt bad about it, but I didn’t want to leave my kids alone in the car while I brought it back into the store.

Yesterday we went Christmas shopping at the Hell Hole Mall. They always have those Salvation Army people ringing bells at the entries this time of year and since I’m not a cash and carry type person, all I ever have to offer is a smile. I feel twice as bad if it’s cold out.

I did happen to have a few dollars on me, and as it dropped the money into the bucket I asked the lady how long she had been out there.

She said, “Eight hours.”

It wasn’t cold out, but it was a dark, grey day with a seeping sky. A little more than a mist, but not quite a rain. Just enough to keep you uncomfortably soggy.

I asked her if she would like me to go get her some food. Her face lit up as she said, “A Chick-fil-A would be nice.”

So we ran all the way across the mall and back to bring this lady some food (yay credit card).

It woke us up. We’d been having trouble getting in and out of the car because of the comfy seat warmers. I don’t know whether to praise or curse the inventor of that thing.
I can totally understand someone falling asleep at the wheel with that on.

Anyway, of all the things I bought yesterday and I haven’t even put much of a dent in the list, that bag of food was my favorite “gift.” Had I not done that, I would’ve felt as if I wasted my day.


13 thoughts on “The Gift

  1. I can’t imagine a more boring and thankless job than Salvation Army bell-ringer. Having said that, my might-as-well-be-sister-in-law paid for Christmas for her daughter for several years with that job. Probably would this year, too, if she was well enough. And it’s a lot colder here than in Texas. I hope she ran into some nice people like you during that time. A wonderful gift.

  2. It’s got to be hell. The woman seemed so happy just that I went over to talk to her. I think really, the conversation was even more appreciated than the food.

  3. They’d do much better with card scanners. I’d give a lot more if they did that.

    People around here have petitioned against these bell ringers. I don’t remember their argument, but no matter what it is, it just seems so awful to be against collecting for charity.

  4. I love the bell-ringers. I always stop and chat even though I rarely have any cash to give them.

    But I never thought to ask them if they needed anything! Days like today and yesterday, I imagine a hot sandwich or a cup of coffee would really hit the spot. Thanks for the idea–you made me think!

  5. What a nice thing to do! Making someone else’s day is a good good thing for your Karma, I think.

    Jeff (husband) and I put our shopping trolleys away each time (no kids, no worries there), and we’ll also regularly put away other carts we see rolling. We call it Kartma, those trolleys won’t be hitting our car either.

  6. Michele, first time we experienced the seat warmer was years ago in a rental. My son asked, “Is there something in this seat?
    I said, “Oh, yeah, this car has seat warmers.”
    He replied, “Good, I was wondering if I involuntarily wet my pants.”

    Amanda, good point, we’ve saved a lot of cars from getting dented. And hey, it’s so fun to have a trolley race, too. (that is how I get the kids to bring them in)

    Hi Kathy. I’ve been at the other end, standing out in the cold selling Girl Scout cookies or other fundraisers and half the people are so good at looking right though us. A few kind words are priceless. If that’s all you have to give, it’s better than that dead stare.

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