By Carmelene Melanie Siani
“Are you guys out of shopping carts?” I asked the cashier as I walked into the drug store.
I had my walking stick with me but I was planning on buying several items and I knew I couldn’t manage all of them and my stick at the same time.
“I’m sorry, ma’am,” the cashier said, obviously looking around for a cart. “Aren’t there any outside?”
I told him not to worry, I would find one. He didn’t have to leave his place behind the cash register and so I turned to head out the doors towards where the carts might be. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Sounds in fact, almost like nothing. But at that moment—at that very moment—as I turned to go out the doors of the drug store, it changed from something simple, into something wonderful.
I’m not surprised actually, since I have been using my walking stick, it has happened to me before.
Kindness. That’s what happens.
I used to think, before I actually took my walking stick with me, “I’ll never use one of those ‘things.’ I’ll never allow myself to rely on something that so obviously screams weakness and old age.”
I used to think all kinds of things like that.
But yesterday, after what happened at the drug store, after it was over and I walked out to the car, I thought something entirely different. I thought, “I don’t think I am ever going to give up my walking stick. It brings too much love into my life.”
“I’ll get you a cart, ma’am,” the young man had said as he rushed by me. He must have heard my exchange with the cashier and—without my asking in the least—had taken it upon himself to find a cart for me.
“I’ll get you a cart, ma’am.”
He was about 18 years old with blonde hair and an earring in one ear. Wearing a t-shirt, jeans and a small back pack, he literally ran into the parking lot, darting between the rows, looking here and there long enough for even me to have given up.
But he came back with a shopping cart.
Was he a student at SDSU? Yes. Did he live in San Diego? Yes. Did he know—I put my hand on his shoulder—that he had just blown me away with his simple kindness?
“That’s an incredible thing you just did for a total stranger,” I told him. “And you did it without even thinking. I’m glad you are in the world.”
For a moment, it was his turn to be blown away.
If stuff like that happens, it’s reason enough for me to continue carrying that walking stick.
It brings out the kindness in people.
Editor: Dana Gornall