2:14 p.m. I’m wandering the craft store looking for yarn for a gift/ project.
2:22 p.m.I panic-I realize that if I don’t get out of here- I risk a way-down the line -parking spot during carpool-that will involve having to count rows to find my car…which is almost math. #fail.
2:24 p.m. I grab good enough yarn and take my place in line. I calculate my estimated wait time. It’s going to be close.
2:28 p.m. Still waiting. Starting to get annoyed. I’m not the only one. “Can’t they open another register?” So many people are saying the same thing I wonder if it’s a line from a new viral video….
2:30 p.m. I’m next in line. I hear the very raw sounding voice of the very pierced and creatively hair-colored girl at the register. Her nose is red and sore looking…. I’m convinced she’s a a walking influenza factory. She probably is. I try to calculate how many virus particles are floating around her register. I wish I had a surgical mask.
2:31 As she’s ringing up my purchase, I have sudden onset iced tea and shortbread cookie craving. I immediately decide counting cars is worth it. I’m going to Panera.
Which is when I realize she’s not just a pierced virus carrying cashier…… she’s a human. With a sore throat. Standing right in front of the constantly-opening- in January- sliding glass doors at Michael’s. She’s trapped by responsibility and is obviously: miserable.
“You need a hot tea and honey on your break.” I state- as the captainess of the obvious, that I am. “Hot tea sounds great- but my break is too short.” I’ll have some when I get off work.” I wish I could tell you that i jumped over the counter, grabbed the mic, called her manager and talked them into letting me finish the girls shift so she could go home without missing pay. I didn’t. Honestly? I was annoyed she was there- passing viral contagion to all she encountered.
I winced as she handed me my bag. I did not want to touch her germies. It was a little like being handed a bag of hanta-virus. At least I had my gloves. I slipped them on before taking the bag. I hoped she’d think it was just the weather- not personal. (Even if it was.I do NOT have time to get sick right now. Just saying.) In truth-she probably just wanted me out of the store. One less customer to deal with means one step closer to going home.
“Feel better.” I told her. More mom-like than I wanted to sound. (I can’t help it. Having a child makes you mother everyone you come in contact with. Maybe it’s viral…. I know I’m not the only mother-of all out there…I’ve been mothered by others- myself. ) It was not my most compassionate moment.
I left. Driving through the parking lot, the tea and cookie craving took over. It drove me straight to Panera. I didn’t bother looking at the clock. “I’ll get there before bedtime.” I thought.
By the time I was in the drive through- I was feeling like a selfish jerk. Here I was- totally NOT sick. About to suck down exactly what that poor girl really needed….
“I could take her a tea and honey…..”
“I don’t have time. I’ll be even LATER.”
“So? You’re late for everything.”
(In case you’re wondering- yes-I was arguing with myself. I like to- either way- I win.)
Which I did.
I rolled down the window and ordered: “I’ll take 2 large hot tea’s with milk and honey and a cookie.”
I drove back to Michael’s. I parked illegally. I went in the out-door.
And then- I made a very tough looking girl- cry. (I was on a roll.) Accidentally. By interrupting her at work. To hand her hot tea and honey.
“That’s the nicest thing anyone ever did for me.” She said between either coughs or sobs…. (They were coughs. She had actually just teared up. Crying would have involved tears- which could have frozen as she stood by that almost never closed-door, probably creating an icicle to form on her nose ring. Which may have caused frostbite. And probably would have caused her to miss work. Maybe. But, I doubt it, because the plague sure hadn’t. )
I left feeling… well. Conflicted. I felt good that I’d done something to ease someones suffering…. (In my brain- that’s what I did- but let’s face it- it was just a cup of hot tea- not a cure for Influenza.) I also felt: sad. Sad that that was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for her. (Even ignoring the hyperbole- i’m sure nicer things have been done… but you get the picture.)
I felt a little puffed up and prideful. I was that chick. The amazing chick who brought a cup of tea to a sick chick.
Which made me feel: guilty. Cause really? duh. Pride has no place in care.
But at least I did: something.
Id love to say that God rewarded my awesomeness with that sweet first in line parking spot. He didn’t. I would like to say that I was on time and that angels carried my car through every light… Not so much. I’d like to say that my tea was still hot when I got around to drinking it. Nope. cold. Id like to say that my explanation as to why I wsa late touched my 10 year old and inspired him to be more considerate of others. Nope. he was mad.
I can’t even say God used his holy- GPS to help me find my car in the line-up. Nope. I totally wandered around and had to hit the stupid “panic” button. (Maybe more ethan once.) I probably caused a kindergartner to lose bladder control.
But, I did: something.
Ghandi said (At least the internets say he said..) “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Elisa Morgan said: “She Did What She Could.”
I was, and: I did.
I hope you will and do- too.
Matthew 25:37-40 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’