Random Acts Of Cuddleness

, , , , , , | Right | October 9, 2012

(I work in a bookstore downtown where there are a lot of homeless people and shelters. One day, a kind of scraggly customer comes up to me.)

Customer: “Hi, I was wondering if you have any cookbooks for soup?”

Me: “Certainly, sir. They’re just over here. We have some pretty good ones that are on sale right now. Over here, though, are our regular-priced ones.”

Customer: “I’m volunteering as a cook at a homeless shelter right now. They don’t have much funding, so a lot of the food they get is from donations. I figured soups are healthy and don’t require too much in the way of expensive ingredients, so that should be good for there. I’m a pretty good cook, but I need a refresher on soups.”

(After taking a look at the selection we have, he picks the largest, most expensive soup cookbook we have.)

Customer: “I think I’m going to go with this one. It has a picture for every recipe, which is nice. I like to see nice ways to present them, as well. These people haven’t been looked after, so I want to make something that tastes good and looks good, too.”

Me: “That’s really fantastic, sir. It’s nice that people are willing to take time out of their day to do things like this. Was there anything else I can help you with?”

Customer: “Actually, a book on sandwiches would be good, too.”

(I look in our system and we only have one book for sandwiches at the moment. It takes me a good twenty minutes to find it, but when I do, the customer has picked up a few other things, as well. He’s grabbed a simple Sudoku book, a Disney’s “Tangled” bookmark, and a little toy. I meet him back up at our cash desk.)

Me: “Here you go, sir. Sorry it took so long. It was hiding in our overstock. Find everything else you were looking for?”

Customer: “Yeah. A mother and her twelve-year-old daughter just showed up at the shelter I volunteer at the other day. I wanted to pick these up for her. A puzzle book for her and her mother to do and some other things to just take her mind off the situation. It’s difficult enough being homeless, but at that age, it’s horrible.”

Me: “That’s horrible. It’s amazing though that you’re grabbing these for her. I hope it makes her feel a little better.”

(As I’m ringing my customer’s items through, my coworker is ringing up another customer. She has overheard our conversation and goes to one of our displays, grabs the softest stuffed animal she can find, and buys that, as well. After she’s paid for her purchase, she hands the stuffed animal to my customer.)

Another Customer: “Sir, I overheard your story and I want you to give this to that little girl. Sometimes, young girls just need something to cuddle with. I think what you’re doing is amazing and the world could use more people like you.”

Customer: “I… Thank you so much, ma’am. This will probably mean the world to her.”

(My customer finished paying for his items and left. My coworker and I were speechless ourselves for a moment. This encounter made our week and brought tears to our eyes!)


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Once A Marine, Always A Marine

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 11, 2009

(I am a bookseller working toward a teaching credential. While I am not exactly poor, my pay is not stellar, and it is occasionally a stretch for me to manage loans and bills. While walking home from work, I see a middle-aged man asking for money on the corner. He appears to be a veteran. I scrounge around in my purse for change and only find a penny, but I walk up to him, anyway.)

Me: “Hey. I’m one of those jerks who doesn’t carry a lot of cash. So, this is all I have. I hope it helps.”

(I press the penny into the palm of the veteran’s hand. He looks at me. When he speaks, I can tell that he’s not all there, but he sounds genuine.)

Veteran: “You know what? If that’s all you have, then take this.”

(To my amazement, he presses a one-dollar bill into my palm. I shake my head and try to give it back to him.)

Me: “No. You need it more than I do.”

Veteran: “You know what? Take it. I was in the Marines. And my job was to protect this country. And help poor people.”

(Overcome with emotion, I impulsively salute at the veteran. He immediately snaps into a military salute in response. I thank him and start walking again, and he calls after me.)

Veteran: “Hey! Don’t you be spending that on alcohol, now!”

Me: “I won’t, sir!”

(True to my word, I converted the dollar into quarters for laundry, which I desperately needed to do. It really goes to show how some people, even in their greatest hours of need, will still go out of their way to help others out. Wherever you are now, sir, thank you – and to everyone else, please remember to support your troops, since many of them, after the fight, will need all the love they can get.)


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