Please accept my sincere words of gratitude for your act of kindness toward the almost cartoonish woman who stood ahead of you in line one day last week. She will be referred to hence forth as Crazy Lady. I know that I voice the opinion of the cashier, as well as dozens of patrons when I write that without you handing that disheveled and frantic lady the 58 cents she was digging in her purse to find...the chaotic scene may have gotten uglier.
Many people were irritated with this strange woman wearing a clenched plastic smile long before she got in line with her screaming toddler. I noticed that a middle-age woman with red hair and rimless glasses huffed loudly when the aforementioned toddler managed to wrap his pudgy little fingers around a few plastic cups...sending them rolling down aisle six.
A tall young woman examining coffee pots with her fiance whispered, "yeah, like what that kid needs is sugar," upon noticing that Crazy Lady plopped a Hershey's Kiss into the wide open mouth of the rankled tot...a feeble attempt to secure temporary peace.
And did you see her accidentally ram carts with an elderly gentlemen just as he picked up a large container of laundry detergent? The poor man lost his balance, but fortunately remained on his feet. At least the Crazy Lady offered the fellow a heartfelt apology before darting toward the checkout lanes and muttering something about the ineffectiveness of the caffeinated/decaffeinated coffee blend she drank for breakfast.
With the above-referenced facts in mind, I felt no surprise when Crazy Lady unraveled, like a ball of yawn in the paws of a feisty kitten, when she discovered she had forgotten her wallet. She handed a Target gift card to the young man wearing the red vest and stuttered, "Oh my goodness...I am so sorry...uh...ummm...I...uh..forgot my wallet....I'm sure I have the change you need somewhere in my purse."
The cashier rolled his eyes and fellow Target patrons sighed and shifted their weight from foot to foot while waiting for Crazy Lady to find two quarters, a nickel, and three pennies...their collective level of patience only slighter greater than that belonging to the wailing little boy sitting in Crazy Lady's shopping cart.
Finally, Crazy Lady surrendered. One could obviously tell that this woman was hanging on by only a proverbial frayed thread. She lifted up her hands and with tears welled up in her eyes stammered, "Look, I'm so sorry, but I can only find two dimes....just take something back..I don't care what you take back....just pick something and take it back. I'm sorry...I'm so so so so sorry."
And that is when you, Sweet Target Customer, came to the aid of Crazy Lady, the frazzled clerk, the squalling toddler, and everyone standing in lane twelve at precisely 10:53 a.m. on that one blustery morning when Murphy and his crooked law triumphed.
"It's O.K. ma'am," you said in a gentle voice while handing change to the cashier. "It is impossible to think or find anything when you have a cranky baby. I've been there...I've had three of them."
Crazy Lady thanked you, kissed her toddler, grabbed the plastic bag containing her purchase, and left the store. Everyone was relieved...all because you demonstrated kindness to a screwy stranger. I hope that I remember and mimic your merciful spirit should I ever find myself in a similar situation as you did.
With both appreciation and admiration,
Ephesians 4:31-34 (New Living Translation)
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.