I was reading a journal entry by StressLess at my site about a kindness that one person did to another:
I ran in just to get some fruit my husband likes, and as usual the lines were long.
Things seemed to be moving unusually slow, though, and I finally realized the woman at the front of my line was short of money. A lot of Aldi customers seem to be stretching their pennies, and I’ve seen this happen several times before. This woman was putting things back like cans of 39 cent beans, one at a time, trying to get it down to where she could pay the bill. The cashier was being very patient, and luckily nobody in line was grumbling or rolling their eyes. But it was still kind of a stressful, embarrassing situation for everyone.
Finally, the woman in front of me told the cashier, “tell her not to worry about it. I’ll pay it.” And she did! I wondered at first if they were friends or family members shopping together, but no–they were total strangers. The “Good Samaritan” said she’d had weeks like that, and she hated to think of the woman’s kids going without food because she was a little short. The cashier said things were tight for her too, as a single mother. They both agreed at least they were better off than the customer who couldn’t pay.
I’ll tell you, when I came out to the car and tried to tell my mother what happened, I broke down and cried. When I finally got it out, she started to cry too. I didn’t know whether to be sad that so many people were having a hard time, or happy that there are such nice people out there.
It reminded me of a similar situation that happened here in Japan (which just goes to show that trying to make dollars stretch is an international affair). In this case, it was a young wife with two youngsters hanging onto her legs. The woman behind was older and said she would pay. The younger women protested, but the older women simply said, “I’m paying of a debt to someone who helped me. When you are older, you can do the same.” It totally diffused the situation from embarrassment and I have know doubt that the woman will help someone else sometime in the future.
Part of the true joy of getting finances in order and not having to worry about debt on a daily basis is that you have the opportunity to help others in situations like that. It important thing to remember is to do so…