Friday, July 2, 2010

What would you do?

You are at the grocery store struggling through finding the items on your list while juggling children. On every item the kids plead with you for some unnecessary treat or snack. At the checkout counter the kids beg for every candy item on the shelf. It is just your ordinary trip to the store.

As you are standing in line, exhausted from wrestling kids, you hear the clerk give the old man in front of you his total, thirty something and change. He starts fumbling through cash in his wallet. You don't know why you are noticing this while arguing with the kids about why they can't have candy every time you come to the store. And then you hear the man tell the clerk that he has $14. That is it. Not even half of his bill. The clerk stands there waiting for him to decide what he doesn't want to purchase.

What do you do? What is your reaction? Do you just pretend not to notice, occupying yourself with the kids or you cell phone or the magazine rack? Do you feel embarrassed for the man? Sad for him? Do you understand the feelings he must be feeling in that moment? Have you ever been there? Or are you one of those rare people who, whenever possible, simply pays the bill for him?

I watched this story take place tonight at the grocery store. I was surprised at what happened. Obviously these are rhetorical questions. But definitely something to think about.

7 comments:

Erin and Family said...

i have been there. only short a few dollars though. i totally would occupy myself with the magazine rack not to intrude too much. but listen to see if i could help. i would love to help him pay if i could. i would feel embarassed and sad for him & totally understand what he's feeling. what about you? and what happened??

The Larson Family said...

I like to think I would pay his bill for him. Especially since he's a little old man. What did happen though? I'm dying to know.

Lali Johnson said...

I have been there and it sucks. The people behind me just stared at me. I was embarassed. But, if I ever see someone in that situation and I can help, I will. Why? Because my hope would be that if I'm ever there again, someone would help me.

But I won't stare. That's just cruel.

Steffani Dastrup said...

I would definitely offer to pay! Not in a condesending way, but in a "oh I hate when I forget my money sort of way!" I think it's better to err on the side of being helpful. If he didn't want the help he could just tell me!

Please tell me someone helped him! If not, I just might cry!

Tara said...

I have seen this situation. Mine was never as much as $15 dollars, which really isn't all that much, but a few and I offered to take care of it. The worst that can happen is the person says no thank you. I have also been in the situation were I have had to chose one item over another because I knew I only had a minimal amount in my account and still a few days till pay day, it wasn't at the register but an angel offered to help me. I will never ever forget that moment. My burden was lifted and my heart overflowed with gratitude. I hope to be able to do that for someone else someday.

Now who ever knows what the situation is for sure....maybe the person only uses cash and forgot to get more when at the bank, maybe payday is a few days away...if there is a payday...who knows...but when you serve with love...all that doesn't matter.

And yes...do tell, what happened and what did you do? What did the man do?

Denise said...

I honestly don't know what I would do. I think I would have to be in the moment, see the person, see what he's buying. Does he look down and out, and is he buying necessities? Or is it beer or soda, magazines and cookies, stuff he could easily put back?

I would absolutely want to help an old man who was just trying to buy some food, and didn't have the money. I would hope someone would help my parents if they were in that situation. Fixed incomes, bad economy, people need help.

So, how does the story end? I'm dying here!

P.S. I'm not finding fault with buying junk food or magazines, I just wouldn't feel the need to pay for them for someone else. Definitely luxuries in my book.

Kathlen said...

I agree. I would pay it for a little old man, in a heartbeat. What happened in the end?