Monday, January 19, 2009

The Kindness of Strangers

I was yet again dumbfounded, flabbergasted, and completely taken by surprise this evening when going to buy cigarettes from the local tobacco shop.
This isn't the first time something like this has happened, but when it does, I am still just stunned, every single time.
We had to scrounge all of our change in order to scrape up enough for one carton between us, as things are beyond tight right now, since I haven't gotten my short term disability nor my tax return, and my roomie doesn't get her VA disability until the first of the month. My being off of work for the past 5 weeks has hurt us more than we had anticipated, especially when additional expenses came up that we did not forsee early in the month.
I counted out $33 in quarters, dimes and nickles and trotted off to the tobacco shop, hoping the proprietor would accept that much in change. He has always been very charming, friendly, and genuinely NICE, so I pretty much figured he would take it. He most certainly did, as well as taking my word at the amount in the bag- I didn't have to stand there for ten minutes counting it out for him.
He then asked how I was doing, and I told him "Broke", and then told him I was going to try to borrow some money from my son so we could buy some groceries. He knew the reasons why already, since I had told him about having had surgery the last time I was at the shop. He then said "Let me loan you $20" and pulled a bill from the till. "I just have to write my name in back, to account for it. I know you're good for it."
I wanted to cry right then and there.
I don't know much about him, except that he just turned 30, lived in Jerusalem before coming here, has a wife and two young daughters, and he liked holding my ball python when I brought it in upon his request. Evidently, all he had ever done before was kill snakes, since the ones he was familiar with were all venomous, and he wanted to see what holding a constrictor was like.
I tell you what, though...I know enough about him now, to be certain that I am privileged to know him at all.