An Unlikely Pair
On a recent trip to the grocery store, I stopped at the Customer Service
counter to pick up pictures I'd left for developing. As I held out my pickup
ticket for the clerk, an elderly gentleman placed an empty water container
on the counter beside me. The clerk told him he had to go to the back of the
line and wait if he wanted his deposit back for the large and cumbersome
The gentleman asked if he could leave the container with the clerk and pick
up his deposit after he'd done his shopping. She said no, he had to go to
the back of the line and wait.
The gentleman was very polite. The clerk was not.
I stepped back from the counter and told the gentleman he could go ahead of
me. Miffed at the clerk's rudeness and full of bravado, I turned to ask the
people in line behind me if they would mind. I was sure they wouldn't.
The strong tone of voice I intended to use came out very weak when I turned
and faced the person directly in line behind me. He was a large structure of
a man. A good six feet tall, he sported a bandanna on his head, a big bushy
beard, tattooed arms the size of rain barrels and a leather vest adorned
with large silver chains.
"You don't mind if I let this gentleman go ahead of us - do you?" I asked
"Not at all. Not at all," he bellowed. "You go right on ahead young fella."
His tone was so sincere I immediately felt foolish for letting his
appearance intimidate me.
In the course of ten whole seconds, the elderly gentleman received his
deposit from the clerk and was on his way. Once again, I stepped up to the
counter and handed the clerk my pickup ticket.
While she was ringing up my purchase she said, "I don't know what's with
these old people. They think they can just walk right up to the counter and
get served ahead of everybody else."
I placed both my hands on the counter and looked her straight in the eyes,
"You know what's 'with' this particular gentleman? He looks close to eighty,
we could all see he had difficulty walking, and you know what? He's stood in
enough lines for one lifetime. He's put in his time, and as long as there
are people who respect his age, he doesn't have to stand in line anymore."
"That's right!" boomed the voice behind me, which sent me two feet off the
floor and halfway out of my skin. "That's right!" he repeated.
I turned around and faced the big man once again. He wasn't finished
speaking. "That young fella's stood in his fair share of lines. He's done
his time, he has. He's done his time."
I laughed and stuck out my hand, "I like your attitude sir."
The big man gripped my hand, "I like yours too, little lady."
The clerk's mind was unreadable, but her face looked pale and pinched as I
picked up my pictures and got out of the way for her next customer.
The big man and I were an unlikely pair, appearance wise, but when your
heart's in the right place, the likeliest things are bound to happen.
[ by Terri McPherson -- from Andy Chap ]
All Rights Reserved.