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Unfiltered Story #215970

, , , | Unfiltered | November 17, 2020

I was working as a cart attendant at a Target while in college (about 20 years ago).  Part of our responsibility was to help guests load items into cars when needed.

One late summer afternoon, I get called over the walkie talkie to help a woman to her car with her purchase.

For some reason she has parked a van at the very last parking spot, so we had to walk together for a couple of minutes through the near empty parking lot, as I pushed two heaping carts, and she pushed another.

We make small talk, how beautiful the weather is, how the days are getting longer, this and that.  We both are smiling and laughing a bit  the whole time about unimportant things as I’m loading various chips, sodas, doughnuts, paper plates, napkins, juices, and other things into the car.

I then say, “Wow! You must be getting ready to have a big party!”

She then responds, “It’s a funeral, actually.”

Embarrassed, I say “Oh, I’m sorry…”

She doesn’t respond, I clam up, and finish putting things in the van. Though I know now that I did nothing wrong, at the time, I felt like an insensitive jerk.

I close the van door, collect the carts, and turn to see she’s holding out money for me.

“Ma’am, I’m not allowed to -”

She cuts me off, “Take it.”

“No, ma’am, I can’t, and besides, I-”

She interrupts once me, her voice cracking, “Please take it. You really helped me today. You have no idea how much I needed someone to be nice to me today.  Besides, it was nice to talk about something NORMAL during this time. So, PLEASE… Take it.”

I take the money, she smiles, gets into her van and drives away.

Having just moved to Chicago, I was pretty strapped for cash and hadn’t yet eaten on this particular day.  The $10 she gave me was able to be used for two meals.

It was such a small thing, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget her.

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