One morning this week I stopped at WaWa for an ice coffee. I got in line to pay and I saw the woman in front of me counting out change. I thought, Oh great. This is going to take a while. She was in her early thirties and looking very flustered. She was trying to count the change in her hand as fast as she could but lost her count. The cashier gave her a sad smile and counted it for her. The cashier told her she didn’t have enough money. She was buying two Energy Shots and a large pack of gum. I thought , wow, what a sad way to start the day.
The woman apologized and ran back to the gum section to get a smaller pack of gum. She kept saying how sorry she was to everyone in line. The cashier rang it up again. She was still short. I pushed a dollar bill to the cashier. No problem, how much does she need? The customer lifted her head for the first time and looked at me in surprise. Really? I said Yeah, no worries. She smiled. She slowed down and exhaled. She thanked me at least four times, wished me a wonderful day and gave everyone in line one more “Sorry”
The cashier was still counting my change as the woman hurried out the door. The cashier handed me a pile of change. I looked at it and asked, Geeze, how much was she short? The cashier said sadly, 18 cents. All that gratitude for 18 cents? The big smile? The visual change in her attitude? I started feeling good too. I felt a little warm spot in my heart. A guy in line told me to have a good day. The cashier whispered Thanks! I got back in my car, sat up real straight and was feeling really good. That was the best 18 cents I ever spent.
On the way to my mother’s, I let cars merge into my lane. I noticed the great clouds we had that day and when we got to the Hearing Aid place, I greeted the receptionist and asked how her day was going. It felt so good, I wanted to find more people who were short money in check out lines!
So why am I telling you this mundane story?
I have been consumed with the truck attack in Nice this week. The main hospital there is same one that they brought my Dad to when he fell down those steps in Eze. I picture the quiet waiting room and tiny ER. The polite patients, families and hospital staff. How could a place like that handle so many patients? I remember the ER having maybe 6 beds? Nice is a sleepily little place that even comforts their ER patients with paintings on the ceiling.
I think of the kind woman who volunteered to translate for us. How she and her elderly mother stayed longer than they had to, just to help us. She somehow called the ship to get its departure time so we didn’t miss it and found us an English speaking driver in a special taxi van for Dad’s wheelchair. All we could do was thank her over and over.
I think of the taxi driver who wanted to show us Nice and Monaco before we returned to the ship. I think of how he refused a tip, saying how he just wanted to help. Are these people OK today? Were any of their family injured? I don’t know them or their names but I will never forget them. It was so scary to be in a hospital where no one speaks English and we didn’t know how bad Dad was hurt. They are in my mind and in my heart today.
I try not to think of the man that did this or why he did such a terrible thing. I just think of those kind people and wish them well. I think of those people of Nice and how they helped us, wanting nothing in return.
Helping someone is an underrated high. It’s even frowned upon by some people. But if you’re having a bad day or just feeling down, give it a try. Help someone for no reason. Just look around, your opportunity is there. We all know people that are struggling right now.
And the cool part is, it will make you feel really good too.