With 4-8 inches of snow on the way Wednesday night, I headed to Save A Lot while in town for my 44 oz Diet Coke. It's not like I NEEDED anything. I picked up a pack of paper plates, four bananas, two jars of salsa (medium), and two TV dinners (Banquet Backyard BBQ).
Only one checkout was open, manned by an acquaintance who's the mom of one of Genius's former classmates. A young gal was at the next register, but her light wasn't on. I didn't feel like stepping over there, only for her to say, "PSYCH! I'm not open!" Not that she would.
A woman customer was paying, and there was an old man behind her. I got behind him, noting that he only had a couple items, not even a cart. He was paying as I set my stuff on the conveyor. Acquaintance Mom Checker (AMC), said, "It's not going through. Try again." He did. "Huh. Do you know hom much you have on your card? It shows insufficient funds. Try again. Sometimes they're touchy." The Old Man re-scanned. "I'm sorry. It still won't pay."
I contemplated stretching out my arm, debit card in hand, and saying, "Put it on mine." I didn't. You never know how people are going to react. I've been behind others when their cards don't work. Some pull out another card and use it. Some hand over cash. Some say never mind, they'll come back. Besides, I don't want to embarrass anybody. Or make them mad, like that Crazy Donut Man in Casey's who went off on a tirade because I asked if he was in line, so as not to butt in front of him. So I did nothing. You never know when you'll get a Crazy Donut Man instead of a happy Morning Drunk like the gal I gave a dollar to for whiskey at The Gas Station Chicken Store. I'm a sucker for someone who who flat out says, "Do you have a dollar for a bottle of whiskey?" No pretenses there.
Throughout this exchange, the Old Man had not said anything. Not since chatting about the weather before his card wouldn't pay. So AMC didn't know how he was going to pay, or what he was going to do. He just stood there, card in his hand. "I'll take care of it," said AMC. The Old Man asked if she was sure, and she said she was. He thanked her, and went over to put his items in a bag at the bagging counter. It didn't take long.
AMC was writing a note on a little slip of paper beside the cash register. "Sorry. I have to do this so I won't forget." I thought at first that Save A Lot might have some policy about writing off something like this. Then I realized that AMC was going to pay for it out of her own pocket.
As AMC started to scan my groceries, I said, "Put his on my card."
"Yeah. It's not a big deal. I didn't want to embarrass him."
"I always hate to see that happen. I try to take care of it when I can."
Anyhoo...she rang up his transaction as "grocery" on my receipt. It was $2.51.
Yeah. So I'm not bragging about being a grand philanthropist for the
elderly. It didn't really cost me THAT much. Since over at the gas
station chicken store, the Man Owner insisted on giving me a free 44 oz Diet Coke today.