Have A Kindness Sandwich

, , , , , | Hopeless | May 16, 2018

(Due to a long winded tale of bad luck and worse decisions, I am unemployed, pregnant at 18 out of wedlock, and woefully unprepared for my first real winter, all in a province where I don’t know anyone except my fiancé, who, to his eternal credit, dropped everything to focus on being a husband, father, and provider when I told him the test was positive. We’re still together and he is as devoted now as he was then.  Unfortunately, at the time he’s in roughly the same boat as me, right down to having to scramble to find a coat we can afford that even partially keeps out the Edmonton weather, after growing up in balmy Victoria. As for “smalls,” we wear the hats, gloves, and scarves we find in the alleys — after washing them, obviously — since the smalls we can afford are next to useless. We always have some food, but getting a nutritious, balanced diet of the recommended calorie level is a constant balancing act. Luckily, the local grocery store is very liberal with handing out free samples. All you have to do is cruise from station to station and pretend to be interested in buying extra stuff and you can scrape up half a meal for free. So now, imagine you’re the worker at one of these stations and that’s what you see approaching: a scruffily dressed and very young couple, the girl heavily pregnant, with mismatched gloves and scant groceries in their basket, who are REALLY INTERESTED in the sandwich samples you’ve got.)

Worker: *warm smile and standard spiel*

The Mister & Me: “Sure, we’ll try some.” *scarfs down a sample each*

Worker: *casually* “So, when are you due?”

Me: “May 14.”

Worker: *correctly* “Ah, so, any day except May 14.”

The Mister & Me: *laughs*

Worker: “Your first one?”

Me: “Yup.”

Worker: “I remember my first. It’ll be a major change, but you can handle it.”

The Mister & Me: “Thanks.”

Worker: *fidgets* “Tell you what… I’m about to go off-shift. The rules say I have to throw out all my samples—”

The Mister & Me: “What? That’s so wasteful!”

Worker: “It’s to avoid them going bad.”

Mister: “Fair enough, usually, but your tray is nearly full. You must have just made those.”

Worker: *shakes head* “I still have to throw them out.”

Me: “Can’t you eat them yourself? Or share them with your coworkers?”

Worker: *shakes head* “Customers only, I’m afraid… so I was wondering if you’d mind finishing these off for me, so I don’t have to waste them.”

(Well, you don’t have to tell us twice! We stop long enough for manners, then scarf down what amounts to half a meal each at that station alone. After, beaming, we chirp:)

The Mister & Me: “Thanks!”

Worker: *smiling wistfully* “Oh, thank you. Good luck with the baby. You’ll do fine.”

The Mister & Me: “Aww, thanks.”

(We went about the rest of our shopping, such as it was… and as we headed for the registers, what did we see but the same worker, still at that station, with a fresh platter of sandwich samples? It’s been fourteen years, and I’m crying as I type this. Unlike food, kindness is never wasted.)

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