The Price of Kindness

On Saturday morning, I took my granddaughter to the grocery store. As we were putting our groceries in the car, a man stepped into view who was talking on a cell phone in an agitated voice.

The gist of his “conversation” was that he’d run out of gas in an unfamiliar town, that his gas gauge must be broken and he had only two dollar to get gas which wouldn’t be enough to get back to Springfield.

His performance was very good. He added that he was afraid and pleaded with the “person” on the other end to help him and he was also trembling. Oh yeah, he added that he had been visiting his mother before he had gotten lost.

Katherine was buckled in and as I put the last bag in the car, I interrupted him asking,” Would ten dollars help?” He said some thing like, ” So much for you guys, some nice lady is offering me help! Thanks for nothing.” and he closed his phone. I could hear Katherine saying, “Oh grandma, that’s so nice!”

At this point, my instincts said that I was falling into a scam but my heart was unsure. What I did know, was my granddaughter was witnessing human kindness.

I needed change, and since Kat was buckled in, I locked her into the car to go to the desk for ten dollars.

When I came out, I handed the grateful, still teary-eyed, man the ten saying,”Please pass this kindness on to someone else one day.” His answer was, “I sure will. Karma is a good thing.” He walked away.

If I had been a man, my next step would have been to say, “Hey, I’ll give you a lift to your car.” This would have cleared up the scam or not, but inviting a stranger into my car would have turned a kindness into a reckless act.

On top of it all, I had decided that the lesson for my granddaughter was worth ten dollars and no longer cared if I had been fooled. I had spent ten dollars on more foolish things, for sure.

Katherine and I talked while we rode home. I explained that this man may have been lying in a very practiced scam but, since I wasn’t sure, thought it was a good thing to help. Also, that it is never a child’s job to help an adult. Dealing with strangers is never good for kids.

And now, two days later, I am convinced that I had been scammed as I replay the events. I would have still done what I did, though. And karma may have the last laugh, if that man was taking advantage of the kindness of others.

A funny thing happened…I was engaged.

Are you one of those people who “engages” others? You know, eyes forward and making contact with those folks who have their eyes up.

That’s a marvelous way to have fun and ,of course, learn.

After my early morning blogging fun, I went to the grocery store. Living in a small city, I recognize many people and come to feel that I know them. My first sight was a young man soliciting credit card applications for his bank. He was standing at the entrance. I shouted out to him,”Selling cookies?” When I reached him. We shared a laugh and he followed me into the store. As we walked in, I offered him an “opening line” that might be useful in engaging the next person.

“Did you know that it is International Women’s Day? That is a tidbit that you could use when opening a conversation with customers.”

He said,” Wow, I didn’t know that. Thanks.”

The lady walking in behind us joined in. “I just found out about the event from an email this morning. My friend in Europe told me. It’s a BIG deal over there.”

Then the lady and I shared our dismay that the interest seemed low in the US and went about our shopping.

This happens often with me. Rarely, is “running to the store” uneventful or boring. I cannot seem to walk around without engaging people. There is a line between engaging and stalking though. A brief exchange is all anyone wants or has time for. I’ve had just a few instances where an especially lonely soul wanted to come to dinner! Thankfully, those are rare and an engaging person gets a sense about who to talk to after a while.

My point is all about taking an active interest in people and your day. It’s fun and makes for a fellowship in your community. I like friendly people.