The difference between a helping hand and an outstretched palm is a twist of the wrist. ~Laurence Leamer, King of the Night
One of the unexpected benefits of being an "empty nester" is that I seem to have more money in my billfold,...actual "folding green". On a recent Saturday morning, I saw that I had a twenty and two ones in my billfold, a BOUNTY! Feeling flush, I headed over to our local market to pick up few items for breakfast. I live in a very nice, upscale part of Austin and we have almost any item you can imagine available at our fingertips and truthfully we live in abundance. There are very few foreclosures, short sales or bankruptcies and few signs of homelessness or poverty. In a way we are somewhat insulated from many of the problems facing others in the community and throughout the rest of the country. For that I am grateful!
Standing in line at the check-out counter, minding my own business, I heard the cashier say, "That will be $21.40". There was a pause and the customer in front of me said in a very quiet voice," I'm sorry, I only have $20.00...maybe you can take a few things back". The cashier was very friendly and said, "no problem" and began to try and figure out which items to take off the bill. For some reason, without thinking, I said, "I've got it" and retrieved the two $1 bills from my billfold and laid them on the counter. There was an awkward moment when the customer stammered, "Thanks" while the cashier, also surprised, smiled, took the money and completed the transaction. Again the customer said, "Thank you" and I replied, "no problem, in the past, I have been in the situation myself". The cashier then handed him the .60 cents change which he self-consciously handed to me and again said "Thank You!" , I just smiled and said, "you are very welcome, it's not often I can help someone out and get change back on the deal."
As I was checking out the cashier was smiling and said, "That was a really nice thing you did" and as I offered thanks to her, the customer behind me also chimed in about my good deed. I said that he would have probably done the same thing in my shoes. His answer ,"I don't think so but...in the future I will think twice before ignoring someone like that". I left the store feeling pretty good because as I mentioned we don't see a lot of people with obvious financial problems but it's out there though maybe not in plain view. While Austin, Texas is thriving in these hard times there are many people who are down to their last $2. I do not know what the persons situation was but for some reason, without even thinking about it, I responded. When you think about it, it's the little things that can still make a difference, especially in the face of the HUGE problems we see these days. I am certainly no Saint but I as I walked out of the store I realized what a great experience I had shared with the others at the counter and that is something that is worth more than two dollars, it really is PRICELESS!