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$0.28

I was at WinCo a few minutes ago, buying groceries, and while I was waiting the man in front of me was trying to figure out what he could take out of his purchases so that it would equal the amount of cash he had. He took out a couple of yogurts, and the checker said "OK, so that makes $9.28." The man handed the checker $9 and said "I'll go out to my car and find some change, OK?" (He had a teenage son and 7-year-old daughter with him.) I had a wallet full of change, so I grabbed $0.30 and said "Here, I have twenty-eight!" and handed it to the checker. The man said to me "NO! I have the money, it's just that this is such a credit-based society that I never carry cash with me and I forgot to check before I came! I will go get it! It's not like I don't have enough money!" I said "Oh, it's OK, I know you have enough money!" but he ran out to his car anyway. While he was gone, the checker said "when I was on campus the other day the girl in front of me in line for sandwiches had forgotten her wallet and it was only like $2 so I told her I'd get it for her since I had the cash; and she had a similar reaction." I said "I didn't know I'd embarrass him! I was just trying to be nice, and I figured maybe someday I'd get it back from someone else."

As I was bagging my groceries, the man came back and shoved a quarter and three pennies in my face and sort of thanked me and left.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
solteronita
Feb. 18th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC)
Whoa. Some people are so easily embarrassed. A simple "thank you" would have sufficed, sir. And you wouldn't have held up the line.
rivulet
Feb. 18th, 2008 02:33 am (UTC)
He didn't even have to thank me - if he'd paid it forward it would have worked quite well! It's not like I looked down my nose at him for not being able to afford his kids' cup-o-noodles. I was just being nice!
luckaduck
Feb. 18th, 2008 11:39 am (UTC)
I have found myself in your position a few times where the amount of money that the other person lacks is so negligible compared to the price I feel I'm paying for having to wait. The person has to run outside, fumble with his or her keys, unlock and enter the car, scrounge for change, and run back to the register. Had he or she just accepted my coins, everyone in line could have left sooner. Gah!
drdardr
Feb. 20th, 2008 12:37 am (UTC)
Reciprocation
I have friends I've known for decades, and have both done so many favors for each other over the years that it'd be impossible to ever reconcile everything. People do small favors for others because it's the right thing to do, not because they expect to be paid back, or even forward...
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )