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 container.

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 rather meekly.

"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 ]


Inspirational Messages     SkyWriting.Net     All Rights Reserved.