A Kindness Souvenir

, , , , | Hopeless | April 16, 2019

I have flown to Washington DC with my grandma to meet my aunt. I am returning home by plane, as my home is over a thousand miles away. As a minor — I turned fifteen a month ago — I can bring in my relatively small suitcase, but I run into a problem at the security checkpoint where the fluid in my suitcase — a souvenir — is a problem, and I will have to check in the luggage. Okay, no problem.

I make my way back and notice my grandma, who has watched me through the security checkpoint, has already left before the problem and is most likely currently going through security at her own gate. My aunt dropped us off but did not come in with us.

I head over to the check-in service and wait in line, before finally coming up to the nice lady manning the station. I’m socially anxious, as well as hard of hearing — I wear hearing aids — so it takes quite a while for me to understand and do everything; this is my first time doing it without parental help. She tells me it will be a $20 fee.

My mother has given me my personal debit card and has told me to never let my balance go below $10. However, I have spent quite a bit on souvenirs, bringing the total on my debit card to $12. I do not know this, so I hand her the debit card and it is declined. Slowly, it starts to sink in that I do not have enough money. I’m starting to panic and start texting my mom. Again, being socially anxious plus hard of hearing means I can’t hear my mom over the phone.

A few minutes later, she hasn’t texted me. I’m just awkwardly smiling at the other passerby while trying so very hard not to cry. She finally texts me, and my heart plummets when I read it. She can’t transfer money to my debit card.

I don’t want to bother my grandma to come back through security. I don’t have any change. And I’m currently a thousand miles away from home with no way getting there. I start crying, trying to cover up my tears, and sobbing and apologizing profusely to the lady. She’s offering a smile but it’s hopeless; I can’t get back. I can’t get rid of the souvenir, either, because my grandma got it for me, and it included some other things.

All a sudden, the lady working in the next booth over speaks up and pays for it — all $20. I honestly can’t remember what happened because it was all such a haze, but I was either too dumbfounded to utter a thank-you that sounded sincere or was thanking her non-stop.

Thanks to that lady, whom I can honestly not thank enough, I got home safely. I will always forever be grateful for her, and even as I’m writing this, I’m fighting back tears. She has my undying thanks. I wish I could find her and pay her back the $20.

After the ordeal, my mom and I have vowed I will now keep at least $30 in my debit account, working to make $100 in there and keeping it in there.

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