I woke up with a plan today, and that plan was to go to the grocery store to get the stuff to make lasagna (which I was craving). In my experience, the best place to get gluten-free lasagna noodles in my part of town is Thriftway. A little spendier than I prefer. But I had lasagna on my mind and headed to Thriftway. Unfortunately, when I got there, there wasn’t a single open parking spot in the lot, and traffic was chaotic. So, I said, “Self, you must not be supposed to shop here today.” And I headed to the Safeway in King City…
I don’t usually shop at Safeway in King City. It’s a little out of my way. But I know my local Fred Meyer doesn’t carry gluten-free lasagna noodles, and I thought it was worth checking to see if Safeway might. (They didn’t.)
Safeway wasn’t too crowded. I mean, no more than usual on a Saturday mid-day. And so, not really knowing my way around the store, I just slowly strolled around, taking my time to pick up my items. (I ended up with a roast instead of lasagna, but that’s a different story.)
As I was walking down the beverage aisle, I noticed a petite little grandmother struggling (and failing) to get two 2-liter Coca-Colas off the high shelf. I walked over and said, “Can I help you?” She smiled and thanked me, and I handed her down her sodas. We smiled and each went on our way.
And then a few aisles later, I came across a white-haired eighty-something lady struggling to pick up a bundle of firewood. I ran up and asked if I could help her. She didn’t seem to know how to answer, so I reached over, picked up the bundle and set it in her cart. She reached for another bundle, which I leaned down and also pulled into her cart. She never thanked me, never made eye contact with me, and went on her way. I wasn’t particularly offended by her silence. I just went back to my cart and rolled on…
But another lady — in her 40s or so — who had witnessed the scene walked up to me and made the heart symbol over her heart with both hands and said, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much!” And you know, I think that blessed me more than if the lady I’d helped thanked me. Because I think that today, I encouraged someone to pay it forward. And what I didn’t tell her as I smiled and said, “You’re welcome,” and walked away, is that if my own grandmother was still living, I hope that somebody would help her the way I helped those grandmothers today.
I’m pretty sure I had divine appointments in Safeway today. When I told my Mama, she told me to tell all of you. And I’ve learned to listen to my Mama.