Sympathetic strangers

[Warning: This post contains curse words.  Please continue reading at your own discretion.]

I have been in a piss poor mood for the better part of the day.  My negativity began at 4 am when I woke to find a puddle of pee on the living room floor.  Damn it!  Nothing like cleaning up urine right off the bat to get the day off to a pissy start.

My foul mood continued as I started my car to drive to yoga.  The temperature gauge read -13 degrees (F) – and it was accurate.  No exaggeration.  The actual air temperature was negative. thirteen. degrees.  F—- me.

The day sustained its pessimistic trajectory as I caught one of the dogs pooping in our bedroom at lunchtime – literally ten minutes (!) after I brought him back inside from the yard.  Seriously?  Seriously?!  Nothing like cleaning up some steaming fresh dog crap to kill one’s appetite.

Feeling angry, irritated, and defeated, I drove to the grocery store for the weekly stock-up.  I found most of the items on my list, then wheeled the heavy cart to one of the checkouts.  After loading the conveyor belt with foodstuffs, I opened my purse to extract my credit card – and the slot in my wallet that holds the card was empty.  What. The. Hell.  Where did my credit card go?  Where is it?!  Shit!!

I quickly racked my brain trying to remember where I last used it.  (My card, not my brain.  [Though from the details in this post, you might be beginning to wonder…])  I know I had the card yesterday afternoon, because I was able to leave the parking garage after work.  (I have to use a credit card to pay on the way out for the exit gate to lift.)  I didn’t go anywhere else last night, so… today, today, did I use it today? Um… oh, yes!  That’s right – I had to get gasoline in the craptasically frigid negative-thirteen-degree air this morning…. And in the scramble to start the ignition and get heat churning through the car’s impossibly cold interior, I hastily threw my credit card and receipt on the passenger’s seat (instead of taking the extra three seconds required to responsibly place both items inside my purse where they belong)… and I-hope-to-goodness-that-my-credit-card-is-in-my-car-right-now….

The grocery store cashier finished ringing up my order and announced the total; to which I had no option but to sheepishly look at her and try to explain, “Um… I don’t have my credit card on me.  I think it’s in my car… so can you suspend this transaction, and give me just a few minutes to run outside and get it?  I am so sorry.  This has never happened to me before.  I, just, um, well, I just don’t have any other money on me, so I can’t pay you unless I go to my car….”   I looked at the cashier genuinely apologetically, truly embarrassed.

The cashier returned my distressed look with a gentle one of her own.  “Oh sure, that’s fine!” she reassured me.  “Don’t you even worry about it.  When I was younger, I remember grocery shopping with my four little kids, and grabbing my purse without looking inside it first – and my husband had pulled out the checkbook to pay some bills, and didn’t put it back…and so there I was stuck in the line with no way to pay.  Honey, this happens to all of us.  Don’t you even worry about it.  I’ll just put your cart at the end of the line here, and when you come back we’ll just finish right up.”  She then gave me a very genuine, relaxed smile, then turned to help the next customer.

Relieved by this woman’s very kind spirit, I hurried to my car – and did find my credit card.  (Thank goodness.)  I hustled back into the store, and briskly walked back to the cashier.  As I waited for her to finish the current order she was working on, I apologized to the customer standing in line for the inconvenience I was causing her.  She smiled at me, and said, “Oh gosh, it’s no problem at all.  These things happen.  It’s just the way the day goes some times.  Don’t worry about it.”  Two kind souls in the same line?!  What are the odds?

So though this day began on a pretty sour note, by the late afternoon at least I had a glimmer of something a tiny bit better.  Once again, I was reminded of the compassion of complete strangers.  And I was (and still am) very grateful for that.


About Stef

A "serious" gal who is trying to remember to lighten up and smile.
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13 Responses to Sympathetic strangers

  1. what a lovely response from those two women!


  2. jakesprinter says:

    Nice post Stef 🙂


  3. Pingback: Wow, that’s some forgetfulness… | Smile, kiddo.

  4. Carla says:

    Yay for happy endings! 🙂


  5. livingvoraciously says:

    wow! what a turn to the day. Sometimes all it really takes is the kindness of strangers to keep me from jumping off the ledge… you know what I mean 🙂 I blogged about kindness under pressure (@ a couple of months back after going through one of those horrendous days at work. Somehow blogging about days like these usually puts the day on a different perspective, doesn’t it?


    • Stef says:

      I absolutely agree with you: while I don’t like to do it often, blogging about crummy days usually helps me see the good that *did* occur in the day – and I can usually celebrate that, and work to set aside the junk. (In my experience, no day is every 100% ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – I can usually find both elements in every day [indeed, in every moment]. So I’m working on choosing to focus on the good stuff.) 🙂


  6. Tis,tis what a pity,
    Sometimes life,
    Can be so shitty!

    …And then get so much better. 🙂


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