I was in line at the shops, sweating because it’s been SO DAMN HOT here in Perth and getting annoyed with my mask. It is SO HARD to breathe in these things!!! I know. It protects us from Covid and helps us not pass it around – especially to the vulnerable but oh man, I hate having to wear them.
I was already carrying two filled shopping bags and then popped into IGA to get a few extra things (I can’t seem to help myself – one store doesn’t seem enough these days with so many empty ailes (how to spell that? I’ll Google later and fix it) in stores. I was trying to hold my basket without groaning in frustration and joined the only checkout counter open. A lady behind the counter was frowning above her mask, shaking her head at the young man running his card over the EFTPOS machine. “Nope, not working – let’s try a different machine”. The guy in front of me who was going to be served after the man who’s card wasn’t working gave up and wondered off. I shuffled forward. The shop lady moved to another till and fired up the EFTPOS machine and tried again to run the guy’s card. I couldn’t help but notice he had his baseball cap on backwards…just like Cam. Oh my aching heart. He tried again and you could see in his face the worry. The hope “please work” and the ache of not being able to just pay for his groceries and leave. His card got declined again.
“sorry” he muttered, and with a sad sigh, he opened his backpack and placed a carton of milk, some bread and some bacon back on the counter.
“I’ll pay” I shouted.
I feel like noone will hear me with the damn mask on but maybe I was too loud because both the guy and the storelady jumped.
“I’ll pay” I said again. I smiled (they couldnt’ see with my mask on) and waved my card at them both.
“Oh. Oh wow. Oh…thank you” the guy said, gratefully putting the milk, bread and bacon back into his bag “I’ll um…I’ll pay you back” he raised his eyebrows hopefully at me.
How was he going to manage that, I wonder?
“It’s okay, dude…don’t worry about paying me back – maybe pay it forward for someone else?” I smiled and hope he saw the smile in my eyes.
I think he smiled back.
“I’ve got you” I said. I think in so many ways, I was saying it to myself. Strange.
It was only $14.00, anyway.
“Thank you so much” he said softly as he passed me and left the store.
It was honestly my pleasure. I hope you have a great day.
“That was really kind of you” the storelady said when it was finally my turn to pay for groceries – my own, this time. Haha.
“I’ve been there before” I said. Huh. I wasn’t expecting that to come out of my mouth. When I said it, I suddenly remembered walking around in Herdsman Fresh – one of the MOST FANCY grocery stores in all of Perth about 20 years ago. I lived around the corner in a ‘beat up’ section of Wembley. “Gareth” the violent ex had just abandoned me and when he left, he emptied “our” bank account so I had no money. Nothing. Na-da. Zilch. I was hungry and I was bleeding heavily from my period. Toilet paper balled up in my pants wasn’t doing the trick and I desperately wanted some sanitary napkins but I couldn’t pay for them. I walked around and around that fancy store, wondering if I could steal a pack of napkins and a tin of soup and get away with it.
I know in that moment, I would have appreciated someone paying for my groceries.
I didn’t steal anything that day, by the way. I walked home miserable and did the best I could to survive. That’s a story for another time.
Today in the store – that was my moment to pay for someone else who was struggling.
Not gonna lie, guys. I loved it.
Go me! I am such a kind person!
(Haha. Such a big-head, too. I need to work on that – I know, Jesus).
I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face on the long walk home in the sun, though.
It feels so good to be kind to someone who can’t pay me back. I hope he pays it forward.
I’m blogging about this not to flex, but to remind myself in times when I feel suicidal that maybe I’m not the peice of sh*t my mind tells me I am. Maybe I’m actually a good person. Someone Jesus would be so proud of.
Maybe my Dad was looking down on me today and cheering; waving his fist triumphantly and saying loudly “That’s my girl!“
Maybe I’m worth something.
Maybe the world needs me around?