Grace at Walmart

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                 April 23, 2012


Bobby pulled into a crowded Walmart parking lot. Walmart was not one of his favorite places to visit. He wasn’t a crowd kind of guy. As he navigated his way down one of the lanes he spied a wide space that he’d be able to turn his Chevy pick-up truck into. As he approached, however, a Honda Civic coming from the other direction sped up and then turned right in front of Bobby to take the space. Bobby had slowed to a stop to let the Civic go by before making the wide turn to get into the spot.

A thirty-something woman jumped out of the car, and walked right by Bobby, who was still sitting in the same spot he was before she turned in front of him. She didn’t even look in his direction, but just kept walking to the store entrance. The started guy in the truck shook in head in disbelief, and then proceeded to an open spot about thirty yards further down the parking lot.

He walked into the store still muttering to himself, grabbed a basket to put the four things he was buying into, and proceeded to the aisle that sold mustard and mayonnaise. It took him a while to find the baby wipes. His wife usually did the shopping, and having to pass the aisle that had fishing rods and reels took an extra unplanned five minutes, but finally after close to fifteen minutes he had the four items he came for, plus a bag of chips that somehow got into his basket. He headed to the speedy check-out lane. As he was approaching, the Civic lady was coming from the other direction, and she seemed to be on a mission. She got to the lane right about the same time Bobby did, and once again turned in front of him- except this time she was driving a shopping cart.

Bobby knew that he could react in several ways. One would be to confront her. The other extreme to that would be to yield to her. He chose to yield.

The red-haired woman started tossing items from her basket onto the counter, but after putting several items there the check-out cashier said to her, “Ma’am, this lane is for orders of twelve items or less.”

If she would have had thirteen or fourteen, that would be one thing, but she clearly had close to twenty. The woman’s mouth dropped open. She looked troubled and perplexed.

Bobby had an opportunity to see justice rendered. The next few moments could cause him to break into applause, or react differently.

He thought of a recent experience where he was the beneficiary of a random act of kindness. There was no reason for him to even be involved in a solution to the situation, but…

“Excuse me, ma’am! Would you like to put six or seven of your items with mine? We can figure out afterwards how much you owe me.”

The woman who had caused him to mutter to himself, and question his salvation, looked at him, and her troubled facial expression suddenly changed.

“You would do that for me?”

“No problem!”

“Thank you! You don’t know what this means to me!”       They divided up her items, and ended up with each one of them checking out twelve. In the parking lot they took a moment to calculate what she owed him.

“I appreciate what you just did for me. I’m having kind of a bad day, and it seems like everything is a fog for me. My sister was just diagnosed this morning with breast cancer and I guess I’m a little shook. I didn’t know how to react to the news so I got in my car and came to Walmart. I don’t even remember where I parked.”

“Over here,” said Bobby, pointing her towards her Civic.

“How did you know?” the lady asked with a confused look on her face.

“Well…this is kind of embarrassing…but you cut me off when you pulled into the parking space.”

“Oh…I’m sorry! Why did you help me in the check-out lane? You could have gotten some revenge watching me with my excess baggage standing there with my mouth open.

“Each of us needs a touch of grace in our lives.”

Bobby detected tears running down the lady’s cheeks. She looked away, got her composure back, and then looked back at him and said, “Thank you!”

“Have a great day,” Bobby said to her as he started walking away.

The woman- Penny was her name- got into her Civic, sat there shedding tears that were a mixture of sadness and blessing. It wasn’t until she put the key into the ignition that it occurred to her she hadn’t paid the gracious stranger. She jumped out of the car and ran up and down the parking aisles, but the man was gone.

“Perhaps,” she thought to herself, “there are angels!”

Explore posts in the same categories: Christianity, Faith, Parenting, Story, The Church, Uncategorized

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