she was in the checkout line just in front of me

something about her looked tired

like her shoes

world weary

her cart filled with simple things

beans, bread, eggs, milk, cans, pasta

and what looked to be a special treat

one small bright orange

maybe for someone little waiting at home

 when it was her turn

she paid

with what was left on her food card

 then tried a credit card

and still

didn’t have quite enough

 she looked back at me

with apologetic eyes

sorry for the trouble

 she fumbled in her purse

looked to see

what she could put back

not sure what to do

I heard the clerk tell her

that she needed

one dollar and seventy cents more

 my heart went out to her

not knowing her life

I said that I had that money

 I was happy to give it to the clerk

 she looked at me with shy eyes

nodded thank you

 carried her bags out

and I thought about

how that one small orange

would make such a difference

for someone special


my small act

had made a difference

in her life too

 made it

a bit easier

just for a moment

and at that moment

I knew

there was absolutely

no finer way in the world

for me to have spent

just one dollar and seventy cents.

‘remember that the biggest thing you could do today is a small act of kindness.’

-cory booker

99 responses »

  1. made me tear up. I did and do the same – but it usually is on very rare occasions, because ppl with so little money don’t buy in great surfaces but tiny shops with not much choice and even higher prices….
    THANK YOU for your kindness. It’s the ONE WORD in my diary of this year to be mentionned every single day. Kindness keeps us human.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love this story! Last year I read about something called “Tip The Bill”, where you left a tip in the exact amount of your entire check to thank your server…I did it one night in Flagstaff Arizona and she couldn’t believe it…we take our “$1.70” for granted every day when you have the money, but I remember as a kid having NOTHING, so doing some small gesture to acknowledge others is a small price to pay!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. ❤ Once I was in line at the store. Two poor old homeless guys were trying to buy groceries. I'm sure they had stolen ATM cards. They were obviously hungry. I — and the two people behind me — pitched in and bought their groceries. To some extent it was so we could get out of there during our life time but it was also compassion. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beth, this one act is who you are every day. A heart full of gold who notices people, understands their feelings and tries to do simple, unnoticed acts of kindness to cheer them up or simply make them feel better. One of the many reasons we all love you ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Reminds me of the time I had two small little ones and was obviously pregnant with the third when I realized at check out that I didn’t have my wallet. I was so embarrassed–clearly the over-taxed mom who probably shouldn’t be having another baby, when the nice older gentleman in line behind me, only buying a few small items, paid for my week’s worth of groceries. I cried a little.

    Liked by 1 person

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