Three interesting and unique sets of things happened to me while in Wal-mart today.
The first thing happened while I was in line checking out--the first time. I had gotten a few items and then--for some odd reason--I had a craving for a Big Mac. Since there is a McDonald's in the Walmart building, I decided to pay for all the non-perishable items I had already gathered from different places in the store and then head over to Mickey D's and eat and read and relax. My cashier was a very tall young man named Jesse. We discussed this and that whilst he checked me out and then I made the comment that I was hungry. He said, "Me, too. But I just got back from my lunch break and I didn't eat." He answered my unasked question before the words even got out of my mouth. "I don't have any money for lunch. We don't have any money left until payday--the 9th."
When he finished checking out my groceries, ( I almost said "checking me out." Ha!)
I headed over to the McDonald's and proceeded to buy him a $10.00 gift card so that he could have some money to eat for at least a couple of the next four days. I ordered my meal and then headed his way to deliver the card. In hindsight, I should have waited to deliver it after lunch. I intended to go get the two perishable items I needed to buy after eating. I could have purposefully gone through his line to buy the last few items and presented it to him there when I was the only person right there in line. I was too excited to be giving something helpful, so I went over to his lane and handed it to him.
"Jesse?" I asked. "Is there any possibility that you like McDonald's?" He nodded in the assent and I said, "Good! Cos I got you this $10.00 gift card from there so you can have something to eat for lunch between now and the 9th."
He stammered and seemed nervous. "You didn't need to do that" he said.
"I know I didn't HAVE to do it, Jesse. I WANTED to do it. It was my pleasure." He still seemed nervous and it was that moment when I realized that my good intentions has prolly succeeded in embarrassing him. I decided discretion would be the better part of valour here, so I wished him a Merry Christmas and headed on over to the Mickey D's and ate my meal. It was during this meal when I met some other people who impacted my world in a great way, but I'll talk about them later.
So, when I was finished eating, I headed back to the milk section and grabbed up the few items I still needed. I waited patiently in his line and it was while I was waiting that the third and final interesting thing happened, but--again--I'll talk about that event later.
When Jesse grabbed my two items, I looked up at him and immediately began apologizing, letting him know that I hadn't intended to do it. He brushed the apology off with a wave of his hand.
"Nah," he said. "It wasn't that. I've just never experienced anyone doing that kind of thing before. I wasn't expecting it."
As I explained to him that I saw a need and COULD help, so I wanted to help, this thought kept blaring loudly in my mind:
"WHAT! You're 18-years-old and no one has ever practiced a random act of kindness for you? What a super sad statement on our society if an 18-year-old has only ever seen people being nice in the movies or on The Hallmark Channel. I think that is so sad. And, I'm really glad I could be a part of him experiencing and understanding that people CAN be nice in this world.
UNCLE GAGE AND HIS NIECES.
So, remember I was eating and reading and relaxing at the Mickey D's when the second of three interesting events occurred? I was doing the above three things--all at once--when a family ordered their food and some parts of them sat down while the other parts of them waiting to carry the food over to their table.
I saw a boy of about ten and two twins girls whom I presumed were his little sisters. His affection for the two girls--and their affection for him--was palpable. They talked and smiled and teased each other whilst waiting on their Momma to bring them the food. It was such a beautiful sight that I was almost moved to tears. Seriously, y'all--it was just so beautiful!
When the Momma passed by me, I made a comment about them and--y'all know how it goes--we became friends and chatted for a small period of time. It turned out that the ten year was a) not ten. He was only nine and b) was not the elder brother of the twins. He was their uncle. There is six and a half years between twins and uncle. When the twins were born, he was not pleased by their existence. However, it was only a short while later when Hurricane Ike wreaked havoc. At the time (and maybe even still--I don't know), her daughter was struggling greatly with drugs. She high and passed out on the floor as Hurricane Ike approached the South East Texas area. Those twins--then infants--were strapped into their car seats and alone. Someone called the Grandma to tell her of the situation so she sent her son over to that house to pick up those two twin babies. At this point--somehow--the danger inherent in their particular situation sunk in and that uncle, at six-years-old, looked up to his mother and said to her, "Momma, I think we should adopt the girls. I'll even help you raise them."
And--truly, if today is any indication of what their life is normally like--he does. He played with 'em while they waited for their food. He herded them back to where they belonged when they started running wild. His affection for them is so clear.
I know I've already said it, but watching them all together really touched me. It was so beautiful.
Now, here is the ugly story.
I was back in Jesse's line and about to apologize to him when I heard someone yell "YOU TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF THAT GIRL!" I'm not really sure who yelled it, but it was immediately followed by a grown woman screeching at the top of her lungs--for about a minute straight--"YOU LEAVE YOUR NOSE WHERE IT BELONGS! YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON. WE KNOW HOW TO HANDLE OUR DAUGHTER. HER PSYCHIATRIST SAYS WE SHOULD HANDLE IT THIS WAY. SHE IS HAVING A FIT!!" (ummmmm.... really? Wonder from whom she learned THAT behavior? Hmmmmm???) and many other little sentences just like it. I looked over and saw the screaming, ridiculous woman and a man--whom I presume was her husband--and the girl. The man's hand was tightly wrapped around the eight-ish-year-old girls upper arm and--to be honest--it looked like he was twisting it. The little girl was looking up at her momma and screaming "Quit it Momma. I'm hurting!!"
I'll be honest that I don't know if the little girl was really hurting or not. Maybe she was just a drama queen like her momma. In fact, she probably is one. Look what she has as an example.
That woman kept going on and on and on and on and on--at the top of her lungs with her pointer finger in the face of a very tall man whom--I am guessing--must have been the one to loudly ask her to take her hands off the girl. This guy was tall. The yelling woman was easily only 2/3s his height.
Her anger gave her courage, I suppose. I thought she could have handled it a WHOLE LOT more maturely. To be honest, my surmising is that she has a daughter who is very hard to raise. I feel like she is bitter and miserable and wants some company. All that loud yelling was just a way for her to garner sympathy. "Look at me! Look what I have to go through."
It could have been handled in a much better way. How about saying something like this--in a VERY CALM and quiet voice, "Sir. I thank you for caring about the welfare of my daughter. I appreciate that a stranger would want to get between a child and someone whom he thought was abusing her. However, what you don't know is that she has some emotional issues. We're seeing a psychiatrist and have instructions to handle her "fits" in this particular manner. We're handling it the best we know how and we do know what we're doing. We wouldn't hurt our daughter for anything."
That is how a GROWN-UP would have tried to handle it. To me, the fact that she threw a fit herself, points to the fact that she may actually have had a little guilt in the situation.
How weird it was to be there listening to a grown woman yell at someone at the top of her lungs. I'm very glad I have the other cool memories of today to paint over that lady's ugliness.
so, anyway, y'all. Those are today's adventures! I might not spell check. Hope you don't mind.