Pay It Forward
Tell us about a time when you responded to an act of kindness with one of your own.
The woman in the motorized cart cruised the aisles of the superstore, doing her best to stay out of the way of people who could walk faster than her cart could roll. She paused at the end of each aisle, peering around display cases before she ventured out into the next aisle.
Most people were kind. There were always those who, just by their nature, were impatient and sometimes rude, but she took it in stride. “Someday,” she thought, “that person will need to use a cart like this, and then they’ll know what it is to feel helpless. No fun.”
She was very thankful for the stores that provided these dandy little carts. They made it possible for her to do her own shopping, and not to be dependent on others.
Children were sometimes difficult in the stores. They could get in the way, and she was always very watchful if there were little kids running loose. She certainly didn’t want to do any harm.
One morning, as she cruised toward the checkout stands, she noticed a little boy who looked to be about six or seven. He was holding the hand of his little sister, and he didn’t look a bit happy. He gazed at her with gravity beyond his years as she approached.
She smiled at him.
And everything changed. He smiled back, and it was like the sun coming out from behind black clouds. “Hi,” he said. And, unusual for her, she decided to stop.
“Hi! How are you today?”
“Are you sick?” he asked, a look of concern on his face.
“No, I’m not sick. I just have a very sore back, and it hurts me to walk.”
“So that is why you use the cart, right? So your back doesn’t hurt?”
“Yes, that’s right. Is this your sister?” The little girl was beautiful. Both the children had glossy black hair and enormous chocolate eyes.
“Yes. She is Maria. Is your back going to get better?”
“Well, yes, if I’m careful it should feel okay for a long time. It’s very nice of you to ask.”
Just about then, the children’s mother turned and realized her kids were in a conversation with a complete stranger. “I”m so sorry,” she said to the older woman. “I’ve tried to teach them not to bother people.”
“You’ve done a very good job. Your children are delightful.” She smiled again at the little boy, said goodbye, and motored off to pay for her groceries. And she thought the world would certainly be a better place if a simple smile could reap such a pleasant reward all the time.