Out in the highways and byways of life,
Many are weary and sad;
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife –
Making the sorrowing glad.
We attend church about 20 minutes away from our home. Sunday afternoons, we leave around 4: 30 for choir practice. Our preacher has never been brief a day of his life, apparently, and after service “meetings” are frequent, so we find ourselves back in the van, tired and hungry, about 8:30 or so at night. This is very late for a family that throws all the children in the sack around 7 pm during the week. So, we usually pick up some dollar burgers in the drive through and admonish everyone to eat them before we arrive home. It’s an expedient treat.
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=fast+food&iid=5251298″ src=”b/e/f/a/Closeup_of_hamburger_f8f1.jpg?adImageId=13008834&imageId=5251298″ width=”413″ height=”413″ /]Last night, however, my trusty Wendy’s was SLOWER than usual. And I was cranky. Very cranky. I would have rather gotten Jack-in-the-box, but “these tough economic times” didn’t allow the splurge. When I opened up my wallet to count out my dollars before the window, I noticed I had used up most of this week’s grocery money in petty expenses before stocking up the pantry. *sigh* The children were clambering that they were VERY HUNGRY, could they PLEASE get three things this time? Through a long, hectic Sunday, they had more than earned a treat, every one of them; but, alas, poor Mother Hubbard’s wallet was getting a little bare.
We waited for our turn to pick up the order. And we waited. And waited. Finally, we were second in line. It was so uncharacteristic of this restaurant to be so slow; why tonight? My head was pounding; my arms hurt. I had to take all the children to church by myself since my husband had to work tonight. Can’t I catch a break? I could see in the window of the drive threw that the manager was scowling at the window-worker. The employee handed out the bag of food to the car in front of me, then the driver handed the food BACK, an apparent mistake. GREAT! I’m going to get passed-around food! I’m crankier, I’m sour. I wished I weren’t in line and I could just leave. Now it was finally my turn.
I rolled down my window, handed my cash to the lady, who said, “That’s $7.50.”
“Seven fifty.” The middle aged black lady heaved a GIANT sigh and repeated, from memory, “Two small chicken nuggets, two small fries, a double stack …”
“Oh, I know the order is right!” I gave her my most winning smile. “I thought it was fifty-seven cents. I was about to give you too many pennies. I’m sorry. I really don’t want to give you a hard time.”
The lady gave me a look of surprise, took my money, and handed me my change. She gave me the passed-around bag and again began to recite verbatim, “ Two small chicken nuggets, two small fries, a double stack …”
“And a couple of sandwhiches of some kind. Looks close enough to me!” That got a laugh from her. “You’ve had a rough night, haven’t you?” I commiserated. “Me, too. I sure hope your evening gets better. Thanks for the food!” I put the van in gear and began rolling up my windows.
“Wait, ma’am! Wait!” In surprise, I saw the hefty woman leaning out her window, waving cups at me.
“Can I give your children some frostys? How many do you have?”
My children nearly turned themselves inside out with excitement over eating ice-cream INSIDE THE VAN and my eyes filled with tears at the kindness of the stranger.
My mother called this “paying it forward,” and admonished me nearly every time we talked on the phone the last couple years of her life to make sure to do it whenever I can. The Lord calls it “doing good” and reminds us we must take advantage of these opportunities – in word or deed – as each arises.
As we have therefore opportunity,
Let us do good unto all men. (Gal. 6)