Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Pay It Forward

Today I planned to write about how lucky I am to be able to check some things off my Bucket List, but then something else happened, so I need to talk about that instead.

I ran to Wal-Mart this morning to pick up some yarn for a project Erin is doing for me. While I was there, I wandered around and found a simple gray cardigan for only eight and a half bucks.  Cute, practical, inexpensive. I put in in my cart and headed to the checkout lanes. 

The lady in front of me in the checkout lane was a young mom and her little guy was his car seat in the shopping cart.  He started to fuss a little so I made clucking and tick-tock noises at him.  His little 10 to 12 month old self smiled and I saw that he already had all of his teeth!

His mom said to the cashier, “Take the formula off, I don’t have enough for that.”  I looked up and saw the cashier pull six cans of powdered formula from the mom’s purchases while the mom was organizing papers in a folder.  WIC was embossed on the folder in big white letters.

I looked back down at the baby boy and said, “You’re such a big boy with all your teeth!” He babbled back at me with a big smile. 

In the meantime, my brain was doing this: 

I should help this mom.  No, my tax dollars are already helping her. I know handouts don’t help people in the long run. Don’t get involved, don’t embarrass her.

I said to the mom, “You have a cute little guy!  He has so many teeth!”  She smiled at me and signed a paper and gave it to the cashier.

My brain was still doing this:
(This is not the actual child, but instead a stock photo.)
Could you ignore this?

But look at that little guy.  He might not have much formula left.  The mom bought two gallons of milk, a loaf of bread, and a jug of apple juice.  That’s all. Get that kid some formula.

Then I said to the cashier, “Put two of those cans of  formula on my bill for that lady.”   The young mom looked at me and didn’t say anything.  She looked down and fussed with her stuff while the formula was being scanned.  When the cashier gave her the sack with the two cans of formula in it, the mom turned to me and gave me a big hug and said thank you.

It’s a tough world out there, and if you listen to the politicians, you’re a fool if you help people and a hater if you don’t.  But I was just looking at my things on the checkout. It was all frivolous, fun stuff. I have everything I need. That lady.  She was trying to feed her baby, her family.  I couldn’t just ignore her.  I couldn’t ignore her baby.

The cashier said ‘God bless you’ to me as I left with my purchases.  Well. Maybe.  Hopefully.

As always, be kind to yourself, and be kind to others too.


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