Aspiring Wise Fool

Being Jesus in the World

The following story from the Stillwater News Press best illustrates what I think it means to be like Jesus in the world about us.  In the end, it’s less about what you believe and more of what  you do.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Thanks to Good Samaritans who aided us at grocery store
Posted: Saturday, January 17, 2015 11:36 pm
Stillwater News Press

To the editor:

On New Year’s Eve this year, I found myself standing in a very long checkout line at local big-box store with my 7-month old son, a cart full of baby food and two government issued checks to pay for the baby food. In May of 2014 my son was born and I became a single mother, and having not graduated from OSU yet, money was tight and I needed all the help I could get.

So when I finally made it to the front of the line, I handed the checks over to the cashier and attempted to leave before my son had an absolute melt down (it was his dinner time and bed time would shortly follow). But of course it’s never that easy when dealing with government assistance and  corporate grocery stores. There was a problem that neither the cashier nor the manager she called over could figure out. While they argued over whether I had picked up the exact items specified on the check, my son and the several people in line behind me, had become restless.

One woman had already switched lines – something I very much wanted to do as my embarrassment mounted and I anxiously tried to soothe my baby before he lost it and I would be seen not only as a broke mother, but one who couldn’t  even keep her child calm.

And then a voice behind me asked “how much is all this?” Great. Now they are going to start chastising me for not being able to afford the few dollars it takes to feed my child. But  when I looked up, the woman in line behind me was talking to the store manager not to me. He tried to explain to her that the state wouldn’t reimburse them if everything wasn’t correct, to which she replied, “That wasn’t my question. I asked what the total was.” It dawned on me than while I saw the way she was blocking me from the podium with the credit card machine, and her own credit card held ready in her hand, what she intended to do.

I hurriedly mumbled how she didn’t need to pay for it, that everything was fine, when her husband, whose agitation I thought to be for me holding up the line said irritably, “you shouldn’t have to go through this. This is ridiculous, we want to help.”

At this point all words failed me as I tried to keep the tears from falling down my face by placing my shaking hands on my son’s, They paid for all of my groceries. My pride wanted to continue to argue with them, but I was so overcome by their gesture all I could manage was a watery thank you and a hug in which I tried to  show the amount of gratitude I felt for them.

Still trying to keep it together, I got all the way to the door before the wife called “Ma’am you forgot something!” I looked down at the item she shoved into my hands and she said “have a happy New Year,” and without another word jogged back to pay for her own groceries. It was a $100  bill. At this point I could only manage to say “Oh my gosh, no!” But she never turned around again. She kept her back firmly to me, and being painfully stubborn myself, I knew what that meant – it’s yours, I won’t take it back. I dissolved into hysterics.

By the time I got my son in his car seat and cried for several minutes before I could even drive, I realized I hadn’t even asked their name! They had their own daughter in their basket, who I am sure like most parents they spent too  much money buying Christmas presents for. And yet they still gave to a complete stranger, they still took a moment to change my life.

If you are reading this, I encourage you to tell this story to your friends, family and neighbors. To hang this up in your office, or school. Not only do I hope that family will read this and understand all the gratitude I couldn’t express that night, but also to prove that kindness and self-sacrifice are not dead or only Internet urban legends, but that they live here in Stillwater, and these little miracles happen because of the wonderful people here.