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Monday, Jan. 16, 2017

Paying it forward

Posted Thursday, October 1, 2009, at 7:53 PM

Anymore, it seems like all we ever hear about are the horrible things people do to others. I can't even turn on the news at night (we get Kansas City, Mo. news) without hearing of at least 3 people who were shot and killed plus numerous other acts of violence. Also, with families everywhere pinching pennies everywhere they can, not everyone is feeling as generous as they normally would be. But I found out that even in tough times, people can do simple things that might greatly improve a stranger's day.

Not long ago, I was having one of those end of the week, everything fall apart, rotten days. I had a hard day at work, my week didn't go well and problems just kept popping up everywhere. Things broke or quit, unexpected bills came in and I was struggling to keep from loosing my cool from all the stress. Then add an unexpected run to the store, when all I wanted to do was go home and well, I felt like I was at the boiling point.

I made the trip across town to the store, even though I only needed a few things, and found the parking lot packed. To add to it, the person next to where I was going to park seemed to think their car was entitled to TWO parking spots (which bothers me when it's a small vehicle and they park on the middle line of two spaces, clearly taking them both). I parked and then realized I had left my purse, with debit card, checkbook, etc., at home that day. Thankfully, I had a small amount of cash in my pocket, so I grabbed it, my coupon book and went inside. The store was really busy, but I just went and found the few things I needed and got in one of the few lanes open, and prepared to wait. I waited and I waited, mean while my irritation grew. I had a stressful day and all I wanted to do was go home, but I was stuck in the checkout line.

Then I get to the front (FINALLY!) only for them to not accept my coupons. I was upset because I normally use them -- hey a few dollars saved never hurts! -- and I had used similar coupons there before. No big deal, I would just pay cash. Then the cashier rang it up and -- SHOCK! -- I was about a dollar short. Now I was mad at myself for forgetting my purse and only taking a small amount of cash. I figured, with the coupons, I would have had some cash left over. Without a debit card or anything else, I left my things and started to go back out to my car for some change, wondering to myself why had everything failed for me that day.

Just as I was headed out the door, an employee stopped me and said to return to the cashier, who was trying to catch my attention. As I went back to speak to her, I saw a woman walking away with just a few items. The cashier then told me the lady who had been in line behind me, who I had just watched leave, had paid the difference for me. A stranger, whom I had never met, paid money to help me out. I was so grateful for her actions. She didn't know me, she didn't have to help out in any way, but she did and didn't wait to be thanked. My anger from that day quickly faded as the cashier handed me my bags. I quickly tried to catch up with the woman who had been so generous, only to see her leaving. I shouted a quick thank you as she smiled and walked to her vehicle with her things. Although the amount she paid was small, the act was HUGE. She completely changed my attitude with her generosity. All the mistakes, problems and difficulties of the day faded away as I walked back to my car. She had saved me, not only from having to walk back to the car to dig for loose change (Note to self, always make sure to take a purse with checks, etc. in it EVERYWHERE) but she also managed to make me feel good after a very difficult day. I happily drove home with my items, heart beaming with gratitude. For the first time that day, I smiled. I know I probably won't ever see that stranger again, or get the chance to pay her back, but hopefully I can use the lesson she taught me and pay it forward. Maybe next time I see a stranger in line, who's having a rough day, I might just do the same as her. After all, you never know who's day you might change.

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I am the Editorial Assistant for The Fort Scott Tribune, where I have been employed since March of 2008. I live in the country near Mapleton, Kan., with my husband and our two children. I graduated from Uniontown High School, Uniontown, Kan., but before attending Uniontown, I moved around several times during my childhood. I love to take photos, write, read and spend time with my family. I am also a member of our local fire department and enjoy attending church with my family and appreciate everything a small town has to offer. I look forward to watching my children grow and spending time with my husband and family while living in the country.
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