This is a very personal story this time. I can’t get this out of my head and most of the time I wish I could go back and have a Mulligan, a do over. This is what happened last week when I was at Walmart.
I was at Walmart with my mom and I had a whole bunch of cards and cards don’t work in the self checkout so I went to the “under 20” items lane. There was only one guy in line and it looked like he was almost done. I stood there and stood there for minutes. I didn’t know what he was doing and then I heard him ask how much more he owed. It soon became apparent that he was trying to figure out how to pay for what he had.
He was dirty. He had a lot of stubble on his face and his clothes didn’t fit right and he had an oxygen tank. He then handed the clerk a bag of 3 apples and asked her to take them off the bill and then he opened his wallet and took out a credit card and started to pay with that but it got wouldn’t go through.
It felt like I’d been standing there for a long time but it was probably just around 5 minutes. He seemed “confused.” That’s a really nice way of putting it but he just wasn’t “all there” and he did have that oxygen tank so he had something wrong with him. He ended up putting what he had on two cards. He turned to me and said “thank you” and he thanked the cashier and he walked away. The cashier also thanked me for being so patient but really, what could you do? It was obvious he felt bad and it was obvious he wasn’t “all there.”
But what I feel the worst about was WHY DIDN’T I PAY FOR HIS STUFF? I see his face and I watch him hand back those 3 stupid apples over and over in mind and it won’t leave. He couldn’t have had a dozen things. He only had 2 bags. That man needed the apples. I thought about it but then I felt funny because I didn’t want him to be embarrassed. I didn’t know if it was better to just stay quiet or what to do but I’ll tell you one thing, I’m never going to forget that man and I really wish I could go back again. I would have paid for his stuff without question.
I did ask the cashier if she knew who he was. I thought about getting him a $25 Walmart gift card but he was just gone. She said too that she wondered why someone like that was out shopping alone. That too makes me feel really bad. Can you imagine having nobody in the world who’d take you shopping?
Those DAMN apples are sometimes what I see in the middle of the night! I kid you not.
Have you ever performed a random act of kindness? Have you ever seen someone like this out alone? Would you have offered to pay for his food? He didn’t have much and there was no alcohol or cigarettes. Just those DAMN apples he wanted and picked out and had to give back!!
What would you have done? Do you have very many things you’d want a “do over” for? Do any of them come to mind?