Good People

As I was standing in line at the coffee shop, a man approached the counter. He was quite elderly, using a walker. A skinny man in shorts and a tee shirt, wearing a baseball cap, tennis shoes with socks covering his thighs. The thick lenses in his large, black frames gave him that typical grandpa look.

He began to order when the clerk interrupted and told him he had to go to the back of the line; she pointed past us and repeated this twice. He seemed to not get it, was possibly hard of hearing but began shakily navigating his walker down the aisle.

I was second in line behind a young woman; in unison, both she and I said let him go first as we waved to get the clerk’s attention. That he heard. So, he turned his walker back toward the counter and began to order.  I heard him say quite deliberately that he wanted coffee and some eggs.

When asked for money, it was clear he didn’t have enough and the clerk was having a hard time making him understand. The young woman next to me stepped forward and slipped a few bills onto the counter. I don’t think he even saw that.

The clerk gave him a cup of coffee and he set it on the seat of his walker; but when she tried to give him the numbered marker to take to his table, this caused much confusion. I could only hear a few words of her explanation and the back and forth that ensued. Between her loud voice and his misunderstanding, it was quite a show.

Suddenly, another young woman appeared, getting up from her nearby table and without a word, took the marker in her hand and guided the man toward an empty table with the poorly balanced coffee cup shaking away on the seat of the walker. All this, while speaking in a quiet voice and reassuring him all was well.

As I walked with my chai tea to the back of the shop, I saw him sitting alone, peacefully waiting for his eggs to arrive.  I wondered how he’d even gotten to the coffee shop. Its located in a busy business and residential neighborhood. Then I wondered how he’d get home. Hopefully some kind strangers would help him navigate the busy street crossings. Here’s also hoping he wasn’t driving.

I’ve thought of this seemingly minor incident many times as I’m watching the latest TV examples of unkindness, poor manners and down right meanness. Like that nasty man berating a woman for wearing a Puerto Rico tee shirt and telling her, a US citizen by the way, to get out of the country.  One of a multitude of examples.

Each time I become discouraged by the latest news of the day, I recall these two young women, not the typical millennials we usually malign, stepping forward to help. This reminds me there are so many good people among us. I’ve chosen to believe there are many more good people than the other kind.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Greg Peck
    Jul 30, 2018 @ 06:41:35

    Really nice slice-of-life story, so well tied to current events, Karin! Greg



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