By Patti Shene
I set out to do my grocery shopping at the Safeway, located twenty miles away, with the coupon book I had received in the mail tucked away in my purse. The federal government paid their employees twice a month, so every payday, this chore had become routine.
It’s hard to say why I would make the poor choice that I did, but for some unknown reason, when I left my vehicle to go inside, I had only the coupon book and my checkbook in hand. I was soon to regret that I didn’t have those items tucked safely in my purse.
After a good forty-five minutes of shopping, occasionally matching my purchases to the coupons in the book, I pulled into line at the cash register behind three other shoppers. It wasn’t until I started looking over the items in my basket to tear out the appropriate coupons that I realized I had no coupons.
Worse than that, no checkbook. Had I left it in the car? No. I knew I had cradled both items in my palm only a few minutes ago. I must have laid them down somewhere, but where? Probably next to an item I contemplated purchasing, but which one? Thoroughly rattled, I couldn’t even recall which aisle I had shopped in last.
The first act of kindness I encountered that day occurred at the Customer Service counter. When I asked if the checkbook had been turned in, the clerk told me it had not, but he immediately offered words of comfort. He told me to go on home and assured me the store staff would do everything they could to locate the missing checkbook. He also informed me there was no need to return my groceries to the shelves, as I had planned to do, since I had no way to pay for them. He cashed out my items, had me sign the receipt, and told me I could settle the bill the next day. I found that quite amazing since I was not very well known in that store!
Still shaken, I made the drive home fraught with anxiety, mentally condemning myself. How could I have been so careless? So stupid? What would my husband say? Would my checkbook fall into the hands of someone who was smart enough to exploit my carelessness and write a bunch of checks against my account?
The second act of kindness I witnessed occurred about thirty seconds after I pulled into my driveway. I exited my vehicle to see a car pull up behind me. A lady emerged from the passenger side, and to my shocked surprise, presented me with my checkbook!
“We found it sitting on a shelf at Safeway,” she explained. “We could imagine what you were going through, and when we saw your address inside, we thought we would just bring it to you.”
I’ll always be grateful to the store personnel who were so understanding and trusting, and to that family. They could have simply called, but they took the time out of their busy day to make a forty mile round trip to extend a kindness.
It always brightens our day to receive an act of kindness from a friend or family member. Kindness shown by a stranger radiates unexpected sunshine and restores our faith in our fellow man.
Patti Shene enjoys reading and writing, but most of all, she feels called to encourage others. She promotes the work of published and unpublished writers on her two blogs Patti’s Porch and The Over 50 Writer, found on her website (www.pattishene.com).
She hosts a weekly radio show, Step Into the Light, on Blog Talk Radio, where she interviews guests who share their stories of ways they inspire others to make the journey from a dark time in their lives back to light.
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