My religion is simple: my religion is kindness.
- Dalai Lama
I sit here every week and wonder: what the heck am I going to write about?
The lovely people at Slice have given me carte blanche. In theory this is a writer’s dream, but with so many options, how do I choose? It seems something happens every week that gives me an idea, a small tidbit that happened in my life that may interest others. Something people might relate to or laugh about. Maybe it’s tips, or pointers, or information that may make someone’s day a little brighter.
This week it was Eclair Woman, at least that is what I named her. I have no idea what her real name is, all I know is that she wanted to buy some pastries and an eclair for her two children and when she went to use her debit card, it didn’t work. She tried her card twice insisting that she, “just deposited a cheque.”
Then, a sudden heaviness came over the room.
You could visibly see the cashier felt awkward, the poor mother felt awkward and the kids…they just wanted their eclair. The woman’s debit card wouldn’t work, and it could have been for 100 different reasons. I think we’ve all been there: that awkward moment when the total gets added up and you’re wondering if you have enough in your account.
I have miscalculated several times when bills are coming out, only to find myself with “insufficient funds” for a coffee. I also recently found out on a holiday shopping trip that debit cards expire — and that mine had. I found this out while trying to pay for almost two hundred dollars worth of stocking stuffers. To say I was mortified would be an understatement.
This moment reminded me of that What Would You Do? television show. They always ask people why they did or did not speak up.
So, I spoke up. I told the clerk to try my card in case the machine was down. She was then about to delete Eclair Woman’s order and ring mine up, when I stopped her and said, “No, try it on her order.”
Eclair Woman said, “No! You can’t.” I told her that maybe it was the machine, and then we could run to the ATM across the street.
The clerk processed Eclair Woman’s $7 order and it went through. She was beyond grateful. She asked me how would she ever pay me back?
It’s not about paying it back, I told her, it’s about paying it forward.
I thought this moment was going to be about saving a woman from embarrassment, realizing stuff happens and paying it forward. When I went to pay for my order, the cashier grabbed my hand tightly. She looked me right in the eye and in her heavy accent said: “Kindness can heal the world.”
I went home and wept.
I am not sure what the universe was trying to teach me that day: the value of paying it forward, of being kind or that I didn’t really need that donut. Whatever the message, it changed me.
Be kind today!
Dee Brun is the award-winning author of Libations of Life: A Girl’s Guide to Life One Cocktail at a Time, a cocktail chef and stylist, TV personality, home entertaining guru, writer, humorist, wife, mother of 4, TV Junkie, shoe-aholic, and borderline George Clooney stalker. Read her column, Isn’t it Deelightful, every Friday on Slice.ca.