Random acts encourage us to look for good

Published 1:10 am Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The checkout line is mid-length, somewhere between not-quite-too-many-people and open-another-cash-register-NOW. I’m third back trying to count how many items are in the buggy ahead of me to gauge how much longer until I get out the door.

If I were wearing a watch, I’d be checking it because I’ve decided impatience is how I am going to play this wait. My foot is tapping and I give a thought to doing some deep yoga breathing.

Of course, there is really no reason for my hurry other than it is the state of mind I am enjoying at the moment. As my daddy would say when he wanted me to slow down, I have no train to catch, but you‘d never know it from the speed of my tapping foot.

Right in the middle of the conversation going on in my head about why it takes so long to bag a few groceries, for the first time I notice the people in line ahead of me. The woman sliding the items along the scanner is talking to two people as she puts things in the bags, and I recognize them as folks I talked to earlier.

The woman has a kind face and a nice smile. There is a young woman with her that I recognized when I met them the dairy section. She was a student in the special needs class with my daughter.

I said hello and asked her how she was doing as I checked out the different cheeses. She smiled, asked me about my daughter and then she showed me the rings she wore on her hand.

I see she is showing those rings to the couple waiting to checkout behind her. The man and woman are nice to her and take time to look at each finger as she tells them about her rings.

The girl is smiling and continuing to talk as the cashier keeps bagging. I see the man reach for a little stuffed animal that is sitting on top of a pile of other stuffed animals beside the cash register.

It is some kind of Christmas themed bear I think. He shows it to the girl who smiles with delight as she reaches out to touch it. The woman with her turns from loading things in her buggy to smile as well.

As the woman swipes her card to pay for her cart full of stuff, the girl gives the stuffed animal back to the man. I see him hand the toy to the cashier who pulls the price tag off so she can scan it with his items.

“No,” he says. “That’s for you. You take it.”

The girl is not quite sure she understands what’s happening so she turns to the person who obviously takes care of her.

“That’s nice of you,” she says to the couple.

“You can take it with you,” she says to the young woman.

The girl smiles and hugs the bear. Then the two head toward the door waving to the couple who are now in the process of moving things from their buggy to the checkout counter. They wave in return.

At the door, the young woman turns and yells a good bye. She is smiling the biggest smile. I see pretty much everyone is smiling, and I am smiling right along with them.

I notice my foot isn’t tapping. My impatience gone as I watch the couple ahead of me roll their buggy out the door.

As I check out, I’m thinking that is what our world needs right now. We need random acts of kindness, acts that remind us that there are good people in the world.

It brought to mind a quote I read.

“When you choose to see the good in others you end up finding the good in yourself.”

So, thank you to someone I don’t know who gave a young woman a stuffed animal and inspired me to stop and see the good all around me.

Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.