~ Paying it Forward ~
At the convince store Halloween displays nearly covering the counter space, a young Mother and her three children waited. Little fingers cannot hold back the urge of curiosity, the need to touch things, turn them this way and that in order to determine there use. Just so was the smallest of the three children, grabbing first one item after another on a mission of discovery. His mother scolding him each time, then turning to finish the conversation she was having with what I guessed to be a friend.
The little boy forgotten in the light hearted laughter and conversation the Mother was having, was now on the floor looking under the display racks, dirt on his hands, his face, his clothes ,(yes the stores floors needed a good scrubbing). Suddenly he squealed out with delight! “I’m rich! I’m rich!” Grabbing his mothers arm and showing her the quarter he had just found. She barely acknowledging the boys enthusiasm, went back to her conversation. And again the little boy was on the floor, this time with his siblings searching for pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters, any one would do to make them ‘rich’ or at least feel they were.
When it came the mothers turn at the counter, she placed a case of beer and ordered an off brand carton of cigarettes, while the children we now asking for candy. She was short twenty-seven cents on her purchases and demanded the little boy give her his quarter, as she took two pennies from the charity cup all counters now have. The little boy held his hand in a tight fist, began crying and said, “no, no, no, it’s mine, I worked for it”. I found his comment that he worked for it quite profound and felt sorry for the little boy. As his mother forced his hand opened and took his treasure, I found myself taking three one dollar bills out of my wallet, handing one to each of the children. They squealed with delight to there mother. I told them the bills had been laying on the floor and they just missed seeing them.
The mother started to escort the three children out of the store and I said, “shouldn’t the children get to spend their treasure?” In unison, all three said “please, please, please!” The mother had no choice, so the three children began pilling candies on the counter, their eyes lite up like you’d see on a Christmas morning child.
When there precious purchases were totaled by the cashier, they too were twenty-seven cents short. A gentleman behind me paid the twenty-seven cents and said, “just paying a kindness forward, those are my three grandchildren that I never get to see – not even at Christmas – and today, you mam, have giving me a glimpse of what it would be like to see their eyes on Christmas morning”.
I was speechless observing both happiness and sadness in the old mans eyes as he watched his grandchildren, with there sacks full of goodies, drive out of sight. And I thought to myself, this is the true meaning of reaping and sowing.