Friday, October 22, 2010

Champagne Friday: On the Road Again

I feel like I'm always traveling on Friday. Last Friday, I took Mama Virgo to IKEA and she repaid me by taking me to The Cheesecake Factory...and Trader Joe's. Today, I am leaving town and heading back to base, just in time to run my Race for the Cure in Macon tomorrow morning with the Air Force Posse. But I wanted to post something for Champagne Friday as I've been a little hit-or-miss lately.

So, to celebrate, let me tell you about Michael's yesterday.

Usually, everyone is in a big hurry in craft stores. I'm not sure why. I try to go when I have several hours to kill. I plan my trips to Michael's and Hobby Lobby like I plan my trips to Goodwill...lots of time to dig through everything, mix and match ideas, and try it all on for size. But, I will admit, there are times when I just need one thing and I know exactly what it is. And then, I think I could probably be classified as someone who is in a hurry. Most of the time, the cashiers are very's the customers that make me wonder what is wrong with the world. If one cashier suddenly opens her register, instead of the next person in line stepping over, it's a rush of carts...with children left behind to fend for themselves and a trail of body parts...the limbs of those who couldn't move fast enough. This is only a slight exaggeration. You would think the cashier was handing out winning lottery tickets to each customer in her line.

Sometimes, mothers have pushed a child's patience with beading and scrapbooking just a bit too far and it is in the check-out line when he/she finally melts down to a puddle of goo and tears. This usually comes justafter they have asked for the candybar/PopRocks/pen with a pom-pom lid and silly face/a spool of ribbon with puppy paw prints. "No" is the answer...and then it starts. I generally try to let that woman go ahead of me...for the sake of all of our sanity. It is pretty rare that I actually have a completely pleasant experience in the craft store.

Until yesterday.

I just needed one thing and I knew exactly what it was and where it was. And I needed to get out of there so I could check that off my to-do list and haul ass and Mustang across town. As I stood in the ever-growing line, silently wishing I had one of their coveted 40% off coupons, I overheard the woman at the register telling the woman in front of me about how she really needed to organize her purse, but hadn't had time because her son had been sick...blah...blah...blah. I almost always tune someone out who starts telling me their life story at the check-out line. Mostly it's because I don't want to get stuck in the parking lot being their sympathetic ear. I have just enough of Mama Virgo's Therapist gene in me to entice someone to just let it all out.

Let me stop here and say that I realize this is not Christian-like. We are put on this earth to take care of one another, whatever those needs are. I am working on this attitude of mine. If the woman in front of me at Target needs to tell someone about her mother with cancer, I absolutely should stop and listen because there is a reason that I'm with her, in that time and place. So, I'm working on it. Like my life, it's a work in progress.

Anyway, the woman in front of me, being more Christian-like and kind, listened and sympathized. The cashier told the lady she could only use 1 of her 3 40% off coupons each day. So, instead of putting the other 2 items back and using her coupons later, she turned to the 2 of us and said, "Would you like a coupon?" HELLZ YES! And then I felt like a big slab of crap. I had totally tuned her out and she turned around and gave me what I wanted the very most in that moment. I thanked her and mentioned how I was just thinking "Darn! I REALLY wish I had a coupon right now."

The next cashier over opened up his line and the woman in front me, with her arms overloaded, turned to me and said, "you go on. I have a lot and you just have that one thing." There was so much nice going on, I thought my heart would explode. So, I walked up to the cashier and paid for my one item with my 40% off coupon and practically skipped out the door.

I keep thinking about the experience and the idea of paying forward a kindness. As I go through the weekend, where I'm bound to stand in lines, sit in traffic, and talk to many people, I hope to find a way to share this stranger's kindness repeatedly.

Happy Champagne Friday, lovahs! Cheers!


  1. I was so excited when I logged into Google Reader just in time to see your post pop up!

    The fact that you've ever stood in the parking lot and listened to someone's life story...well, that makes you a better person than me. I will talk to someone while standing in line, but that's the end of it for me. Of course, I'm a bitchy New Yorker, so I guess that makes sense.

    I'm glad the universe gave you your coveted coupon. (I should start mailing you mine...I never end up using them before they expire.) I'm sure you will share the kindess a million times over.

    Good luck in the race tomorrow.

  2. What a feel-good story! Definitely makes you want to pay it forward. Shoot, it even makes ME want to pay it forward and I only just heard the story! Restores my faith in humanity a bit. Thanks for sharing, Ally.

    And good luck tomorrow!

  3. I'm always the one who goes in to Michaels or Joanns only needing 1 thing (because perusing gets me in trouble) and I know my craft stores here well. Getting the item and to the line is never the issue. It's the line and the kids.

    I need to work on my in public attitude too. I've been feeling somewhat dead inside for awhile. Not that I don't laugh and have fun and even cry during sappy movies or TV shows, but when it comes to dealing with strangers, there's no emotion, except for the occasional irritation. I used to LOVE talking to strangers and hearing their stories. I don't know what is wrong with me, but this post is a good reminder to step back sometimes and think about what they're going through. I'm so selfish sometimes and it really isn't all about me.

  4. Ha!!! I'm that mom in the line with her kid near meltdown, tee hee :) I just want the whole world to share in my joys of motherhood :)

    You are soooo right about the paying it forward. I often forget about all of the many moments of random kindness I have been blessed enough to receive. I need to keep this in mind more.

    Good luck on your run!! Give us an update as to how it goes.

  5. What a nice post. I bet you are paying it forward this very weekend.

  6. I first want to say that going into Michaels is exactly what I believe heaven will smell like.

    Secondly, your post almost made this pregnant lady cry real tears! It's so true. I think our purpose here is to love one listen and care for our neighbor...and to be patient and kind. It's not easy all the time, Lord knows I struggle especially with the patience thing, but there is so much GOOD in the world if you just look for it.

    I have a friend who is so kind and generous..he always pays for me and kelsey both when we eat out with him. He's a few years older and a rocket scientist (literally) so he is in a different place financially...but he says he likes taking people out who are in college or just starting out because people did that for him when he was younger, and the only thanks he wants is for us to do the same. So we try to treat our younger friends as much as we're able.

  7. A stranger who offers the sweet milk of kindness when we least expect it is the best kind of friend. Don't feel badly about your attitude. After all, you only had just one thing. Hope your run went well, dahlink!

  8. Gawd. I hear you.

    I like this post SO. MUCH.

    I've been reminded of this sort of thing myself lately.


  9. I love stories about paying it forward and this is a great one! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  10. I wish there were more people like that in the world... or even just in WALMART!!!

  11. you are so right. Everyone IS in a hurry at craft stores. I wonder why? I think I am because a) my kids have unraveled every spool by that point, b) I've had sensory overload and need a nap c) one or more children just took a dump. or needs too. Because craft stores are a time warp.

    pay it forward, baby


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