As I entered the store, I was truly disgusted with myself.
Planning ahead is one of my core strengths, especially during busy holiday weekends. The last place I wanted to be was back to the grocery store. And yet, I forgot some key ingredients. I had no choice but to go back into the madness.
It wasn’t working. All I could think about was what was left to do.
Finally, I had my last item and headed to the check out. Which line would be the fastest? Ahaa, here is one with just a few people and they didn’t have full carts. Perfect.
As I waited in line, I noticed the man in front of me with two small children. He had a cute dress for the little girl, a small tie for the boy and some socks for himself. Their excitement for the holiday was contagious. And it lifted my spirits.
Then it was gone.
I saw the man slump his shoulders as the cashier said there were no funds in his account to purchase the items. The man looked puzzled but stepped aside and sat on the bench against the wall. He just stared at his receipt. I looked over and saw the disappointment and stress begin to emerge on his face. His children wondered why they were not leaving the store.
All of a sudden, my irritation at the forgotten items didn’t seem so important.
When the cashier finished ringing up my order, I asked her how much the man needed to purchase his things. She didn’t understand at first, but then shared the total. It was under $50. I asked her to include it in my total. Again, I could see a look of wonder in her eyes. Why should I care? I didn’t even know him.
I asked her to share the news with him after I left the store. I wanted him to be able to hold his head high in front of his children.
As I went back to my car with my bag of key ingredients, my list didn’t seem so ominous and the ingredients not so key. I smiled thinking about this man and his children and hoped his day was looking brighter too. And so I waited. Finally he emerged from the store with a small bag and holding the hands of his children as they made their way to the car. All seemed right in the world again.
This holiday season, let focus on giving grace. To those closest to us and to those in need. So they too can enjoy the spirit of the season with a sense of pride and hope.
We can all make the world a better place, but none of us can do it alone. Let’s pay if forward together. I look forward to hearing how you are making a difference in the lives of others.