Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dinner for a Stranger

The other night I had to return something to the mall.  So I did what I always do when I have nothing to buy, I went shopping.  I have this crazy habit of going to the mall and just spending money (that I don't have) on things that I don't need without trying anything on.

Then I come home and try it on and return it all back to the mall.  I don't get it, I never will, but it's what I do...

But anyways, this is not a story about my weird shopping habits.

It was after 6 when I left the mall so I told Jared I had some cash and I'd pick up some Chinese take out on my way home.  Our local place only takes cash so it's a special treat when I have cash - which I never do - to get some of the most amazing wonton soup ever made!  See at our Chinese take out place, they have the broth and the wontons separate so it's so fresh and delish!

But anyways this is also not a story about wonton soup...

There I am at the Chinese take out place with Lyla paying for my meal when a girl walks in.  She's a young girl, maybe 18 or 19, pretty and looking totally helpless with her credit card in hand while she stares at the "cash only" sign.  She repeats the sign and says she doesn't have any cash, didn't know it was cash only.  The lady at the register says she's sorry but can't take credit cards, they don't have a machine.  She says this once she can take a check.  But the young girl shakes here had solemnly that she has no check book.  The lady tells her where an ATM is and the girl leaves, defeated but determined to get food.  This whole time I'm thinking to myself, buy her dinner for her.  

But I feel as if I've missed my moment. The girls walks out the door and I sit there stunned that I didn't move fast enough.  I decide not to waste any more time and I follow the girl out. She asks me where the ATM is and I tell her I don't really know. I tell her I don't think there is one in walking distance.  Then I tell her, let me buy you dinner.  I have some extra cash.  She insists no. She can't let me do that.  I march in the restaurant and tell the lady that I'm paying for her dinner.  The girl looks at me so gratefully not knowing what to say.  The lady I pay smiles and says it's very nice of me.  

It's not every day you get to do something nice for a stranger, I say.  The girl, now almost in tears, tells me she had the worse day ever.  I tell her we'll end it on a good note.  She leaves food in hand, thanking me again and again, even offering me some of her food.  

I feel good.  That $8 would have just gone to something stupid so I'm happy it went to feed this young girl who had a bad day.  I need to do this more often.  It feels so good to do nice things for strangers.

I recommend we all do these kinds of things often.  Brings smiles to people and renews faith in mankind for all.

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