Thursday, December 23, 2004

Kindness of Strangers 

Christmas is the time of year where the "holiday spirit" is meant to come out and we are all meant to help each other. Generally this is buried benieth the parking space wars, stressful long lines, and fighting over that last stuffed reigndeer. But last night I got a TRUE glimpse of the christmas spirit and the kindness of pure strangers. Lacking any immediate funds to pay for food and lodging while I am out of my apartment I went to Walmart last night to return all the xmas gifts I had purchased for Jon and my families. I thought I had the reciept in one of the bags, but when I got there it turns out it wasn't. Walmart policy is that without a reciept they will only give a gift card.
I get to the door and a kindly man checks in my stuff putting the little pink stickers on, we talked a little (there was a lot of stuff and it took a little while) and he asked why I was returning everything. I explained that there was a fire at my complex and I needed the funds for food and lodging and he told me that he was sorry to hear that. I explained that I was just glad my cats and I were safe. So I headed to customer service, where the guy very nicely and patiently explained that he couldn't help me without my reciept (You could tell he wanted to, but was just a flunky and couldn't) and I burst into tears, just as the kindly old man from the door walked past. He took my arm, and lead me to a manager explained what had happened to me. She got my credit card, and the went to the safe and managed to print out a duplicate reciept in order for me to return the items. Just before this kindly man walked away, he leaned over, pressed something into my hand and said "Have a merry Christmas". I looked down to find $50, which prompted another bought of tears.
As I waited my turn, furiously wiping away my tears (how dare I cry when I was so fortunate???) a lady asked me what was going on and if I was ok. I explained, fire, everything ok, needed receipt to return gifts.... and so on and so forth. She says- you're in the grey place, 2 stories right? I said yes. She says- I just saw that on the news (side note- yahoo my building is famous *rolls eyes*). After returning my items, she leans over to give me a hug and then says- I don't have much, and presses a $20 bill into my hand. I protested, saying that I couldn't possibly take it, but she insisted.
I will probabley never see these people again, and god knows I am not a religious person, but I hope and pray that they have the same great goodness returned to them that they showed me last night.


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