The Universe Pays A-Ten-tion

, , , | Hopeless | August 3, 2018

(I’m waiting for my train when a woman with her two kids approaches me:)

Woman: “I’m so sorry to ask this, but I’ve lost my wallet and I need to get my kids home. Do you have any cash that I can borrow to cover the fare? I can get your details and I’ll pay you back. I’m so sorry.”

(The train that I need to catch is approaching.)

Me: *hands her $10* “Here. This should cover it.”

Woman: “Thank you. Let me get your number—”

Me: *gets on train* “Don’t worry about it. Have a good night!”

(Fast forward to three days later. I’m in a different part of town, walking to work at about 7:00 am. A car drives past me, slows down, and then pulls over to the side of the road. The woman from the train station steps out.)

Woman: “Hi! I just noticed you’re the girl from the other day at the train. I’ve only got coins; is this okay?”

(She handed me $10 in coins. I actually couldn’t believe it. The universe works in weird but wonderful ways!)

Pay It Forward Never Needs To Go On Sale

, , , , , , | Hopeless | August 1, 2018

(This happens over 25 years ago, when I am just a little girl, probably about seven or eight. I am a big bookworm, and always get a certificate to our local bookstore for birthdays and other occasions. These are always special occasions for me, because as a single mom, my mother doesn’t have much money to spare, even working double shifts more often than not. I am at the till by myself while my mom browses, with three books I’m going to buy with my gift certificate. In line behind me is a guy probably about ten years older than me. I am leery of him for no particular reason other than that he is a “big kid” and I am shy and reserved.)

Cashier: “That will be [amount a lot more than my certificate has].”

Me: “Oh… I don’t have that much. I thought these were on sale.”

(I point to a big sign, no more than a few feet away in front of a shelf.)

Cashier: *dismissively* “It’s an old sign. I haven’t gotten around to taking it down.”

(I’m too awkward and anxious to do anything other than try to pick which books I’m putting back, feeling flustered and embarrassed.)

Cashier: *impatiently* “Just go find your mom and get her to pay the difference!”

Me: “She can’t! This is all I can have!”

(I’m feeling very embarrassed now, because how little money my mother and I have has always been a sore spot and something I feel ashamed of. Suddenly the teen leans past me, holding out some money.)

Teen: “Hey, I’ll pay for it. Don’t worry about it. Kids should be reading more, anyway. Oh, and let me get that for you.”

(He makes a show out of plucking the little plastic sale sign off the shelf and handing it to the cashier with a smile.)

Teen: “No more misunderstandings. Right?”

(Looking annoyed and embarrassed, the cashier rang me up. I thanked the teen profusely; he just waved me off with a smile and told me to pay it forward one day. Looking back, it might have been a small gesture, but it meant a lot to me to have a complete stranger have my back like that and show me a token of kindness. Ever since then, decades later, I have tried to do the same when I’m able and the opportunity arises — be it for groceries or whatever — because I remember how that felt, and I hope it makes other people feel and do the same. It may seem minor, but minor kindnesses add up, and hopefully lead to others like them.)


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Pokémon Go To The Police!

, , , , , , , , | Hopeless | July 30, 2018

I work in a store in an outdoor shopping mall. If I end up closing, my boyfriend and I will eat a late dinner, and then drive down the main strip a few times hitting Pokéstops, as there are a ton in the area.

We also try to beat one of the gyms in the area most nights. Yesterday we parked to battle the gym and ended up winning and claiming it for our team. Less than a minute later, a police car pulled up behind us, blocking us from backing out of the parking spot.

The officer came to the car and wasted no time telling us that it was his gym and he would be taking it back!

It made our night, and now we are in for a real battle!

They Undertook The Precept To Refrain From Incorrect Speech

, , , , , | Hopeless | July 28, 2018

(I work in an alternative book store at the end of a long strip mall. There’s actually another book store five doors down, but they are a Christian bookstore so we don’t have much to compete over. Occasionally we get customers from the other store walking in because they were not paying attention and get confused — or offended — by our products. The store is heavily decorated with draped fabric making it kind of dark inside. One day I see a car pull up front and drop off a cute little old lady, complete with short, curly, white hair and a pink pantsuit. The car immediately drives off as soon as she closes the door, and she wanders into our store while looking through her purse.)

Lady: *still looking in her purse* “Hello, dearie, can you help me return this book? It doesn’t have the right plants. My, it is dark in here! You should tell your manager to fix those lights; it’s not good for your eyes to be in the dark all the time!”

(She pulls out a book about “gardening with the Lord” and sets the book, with a receipt, on the counter. I can also see a gold cross on her necklace.)

Me: “I am sorry, ma’am, but I believe you are actually looking for [Christian Store] a few doors down.”

Lady: “Oh? Am I in the wrong store again?”

(She takes a moment to pull a pair of glasses out of her purse and puts them on before looking around.)

Lady: “Oh! You’re right; this isn’t [Christian Store]! No wonder it’s so dark in here; what an interesting place! What is this store?”

Me: “This is [Alternative Bookstore], ma’am. We specialize in books, supplies, and some knick-knacks, for a variety of religions and spiritualists.”

Lady: “Do you sell books on witchcraft?!”

(As she says this, she looks shocked and holds her hand up to her little gold cross. I brace for the usual shouting as I reply:)

Me: “Yes, ma’am. We do sell books about Wicca, along with books on a wide variety of religions, such as Buddhism and Asatru.”

(For a moment she just stares at me like I slapped her, and very slowly turns around again to look at the store. She is quiet for so long that I begin to worry about her health. Then she turns back to me, all smiles, as if nothing is wrong.)

Lady: “I’ve always wondered what people meant by those words. What is ‘Wicca’? Or that ‘bood-ish’ thing you said? Oh, can you show me any books on gardening?!”

(She was perfectly cheerful, and wandered all over the store asking a thousand questions about everything she could. Since we were slow, I was happy to talk with her and even helped her find a book on planting healing herbs. She kept looking at everything with an expression of amazement I usually only see on children. I checked her out once she decided she had had enough looking around, and we chatted for a few minutes. Apparently the car that had dropped her off belonged to her granddaughter, who dropped her off at the mall once a week, as she couldn’t drive herself, so that she could spend time in the Christian bookstore down the way. And, as her family was all very religious, she had no idea there were so many different beliefs out in the world. She left, happy, and has become my favorite regular, visiting the store every other week, and is still perfectly happy with her beliefs, but loves to talk with me about absolutely everything.)

Kindness: Making A Meal Out Of It

, , , , , | Hopeless | July 25, 2018

(My roommate and I hit a run of bad luck financially, but I finally managed to get my tax refund after nearly two months of waiting. After catching up on bills, loans, and paying back friends and family, we decide to use the last of the money to stock up our food supplies at H-E-B with more than just cheap TV dinners and canned meals. However, as we are looking at a few of the coupons that are in the store to see what we want and can afford, one of the employees approaches us.)

Employee: “Hey, you two seem to be pretty down on your luck, so I thought you might like this.”

(She hands my roommate a nearly $10 value package of skinless chicken breasts that has a sticker on it reading, “TRY ON US!” Then, she proceeds to explain that the sticker means we will get the entire package — at least five very nice-sized pieces — for free.)

Roommate: “Wait. You mean you are giving us this… for free?”

Employee: “Yes, I can tell by the way you are shopping around and—” *she points at me with my phone that I was using a calculator for the amount remaining in our budget* “—that you are seriously keeping track of how much you are spending. Did something happen?”

(I begin to explain about the various bills, and the fact that we lost power for a few days in the last month due to being late, despite the fact that we were going to pay them quite literally the day after they cut the power. However, they had nearly doubled the total bill in fees for the disconnect, reconnect, deposit, and the like, meaning we had to beg for help to get it back on. In addition, we had a few legal issues, had to get our car repaired, and various other things; the only saving grace was the tax refund.)

Employee: “That sounds pretty bad, but I’m glad to see that you are starting to get back on solid ground. I do hope that this helps you out a little bit, and if you need any help with anything here, we’ll do our best to accommodate you if it’s possible.”

(At this point, my roommate and I start to break down, but we try to keep it contained.)

Me: *voice breaking* “Thank you. We will definitely keep you in mind the next time we come here.” *without realizing it, I find myself hugging the employee* “You have no idea how much this means to us. This store is always so friendly, but we never expected this.”

(As I let the employee go, I begin to feel the tears rolling from my eyes and they blur my vision.)

Roommate: *also in full tears* “Thank you. God bless you. But I think we need to keep shopping around.”

(The employee nods as she starts to head off.)

Employee: “I’m sure good things will be coming to you pretty soon; just make sure you keep looking ahead.”

(After she left, we remained standing and crying from the gift and kindness of the employee. While we are still not in the best situation, we are a lot better than we were then. If you happen to be reading this, H-E-B employee, please know that the gift was made into one of the best dinners we had had in a long time, and may you keep bringing good fortune to others who are in the shoes we were in.)

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