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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

one good turn

Last night, my friend Annie took her kids to the "Red Circle Store". She's a budget-er, and happened to be using gift cards (gift from her mother) last night, so she could be seen counting things up in her head. When she got to the register she found that the swim vest she had picked up for her little girl didn't have a price tag. The cashier suspended her order while her oldest boy ran back to get one that did have a tag.

Since her order was suspended, she just kind of stood to the side with her kids. The man who was behind her in line had two boys with him, looked at Annie, and said, "Rough day?"

"Only every day of my life!" Annie joked.

"Oh, really?"

"No, just, you know, I have to finish here, get home, cook dinner, clean my house...the usual stuff! Just life!"

The man laughed. "I know, life's like that."

"Are these your kids?"

"Yes, two of the five," the man said.

"Well, they sure are cute!"

Annie turned to her daughter and son, while waiting for the other son to return. She overheard the cashier tell the man, "I can't do that, Sir," to which the man replied, "Then will you please ring up two separate orders?" The boy returned with the tagged swimvest, and the man was on his way out the door.

"Have a nice night!" the man called to Annie.

"Thanks, you too!"

Annie turned her attention back to the cashier, who was loading her bags into her cart. "How much do I owe you?" Annie asked.

"Nothing. That man paid for your order."

"WHAT?!" She immediately sent her oldest boy on another errand, to catch this man with the credit card, and get him to come back into the store so she could give him his money back.

She worried that she looked needy (she doesn't -- she's one of the most put-together people I know). When the man came back into the store, laughing, Annie pelted him with a storm of "NO"s and pleaded with him to charge her order back to his card. "I have money!" she reasoned. "I can pay for this!"

The man refused. "Honestly, I just felt like doing a good deed. If you want to pay me back, you can do this for someone else sometime. Have a nice night." And the man left.

When Annie got to the car, she broke down.

This man didn't know that Annie's husband had just lost his job.

Or that Annie is experiencing medical issues and stress as the bills add up, and they have no insurance to cover them.

Or that Annie's mother, who gave Annie the gift cards, is, herself, in financial straits.

Thank you, Mister Man, whomever you are, for blessing my friend Annie and her family. You did the right thing, and you blessed them at the right time and more than you know.

This post is dedicated to the person(s) who are responsible for the anonymous gift I received in the mail yesterday. Your generosity is treasured. Be assured that we, one day, will too pay it forward.


Carina said...

I love these kinds of stories, it makes me want to be a better person.

QueenScarlett said...

Thanks for this... started my day right.

sue-donym said...

Yay for Mister Man. He could not have picked a sweeter person to do this for.

I need to remember to do things anonymously more often.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing this inspiring story.

This is me said...

This story gave me chills. And made me a little jealous. I have always wished someone would do this for me! Once, at Target, the lady accidently started ringing up my stuff with the things the guy in front of me was buying. He corrected her and then said, "Or, I could just pay for her stuff, too." It was about a week before Christmas and I was (and looked) stressed and had my two young kids with me, so I started to get my hopes up and then he said, "Just kidding....Merry Christmas!"

That did not make me happy.

Your story did.

{natalie} said...

i love things like that. i wish more people would act like that man.
ps. good to see you for a minute today...

: STEVE : said...

I frickin' love these type of stories. It seems like we focus way too much on the negative in this world. Which the nightly news covered more stories like that.

Geo said...

So what you're saying (besides the beautiful obvious which nearly made me cry) is that to anonymously pay it forward you might also need to be a good runner?

Kind man, very inspiring story.

LuckyRedHen said...

Ugggghhhh. That hit my heart.