I stopped at my local Price Cutter last evening after work to get fixin’s for my favorite. On the way in, I noticed a couple of store associates hanging out in the parking lot talking to a young woman with a small child.
I went in and picked up fresh cranberries, orange/pineapple juice, cinnamon sticks and schnapps and a few other items. I ended up spending $50 dollars out of the $20 I had allotted myself for weekend fun. So I am in the negative already and it is only Thursday.
On the way out I noticed the store folks and the young woman were still standing in the parking lot. One of the associates wore a white lab coat that gave away his status as butcher. A third man had joined them-one of our small town’s finest in blue- and he was searching the young woman’s car. On closer, covert inspection, I noticed the butcher was now holding a package of roast in his hand.
Ah. I see.
Let me explain something about myself-I have a cold hard heart about some things. Usually when someone gets busted for shoplifting a lipstick or bottle of vodka or a Glade air freshener, (true stories every one) I have very little sympathy. People panhandling at the corners of busy intersections and highway ramps only cause accidents and I’m never compelled to give them money. I hate it when chunky young women hold up signs telling me they are hungry and then use their equally chubby children and/or dogs as bait. It does not make me feel sympathetic. It makes me angry.
But last night my heart broke for this woman.
I was inside cheerfully buying crap I didn’t need with money I didn’t have so I could enjoy a tipple on a chilly evening. I was humming to myself in anticipation for God’s sake!
This young woman, however, was tired of feeding her pale son hot dogs and canned tuna. Something inside of her snapped and she slipped a high quality cut of meat inside her hoodie.
She stood quietly while the officer inspected her belongings. She didn’t scream or throw any type of white trash hissy fit. It wasn’t Cops-worthy.
She stood there with dignity. Yes, you heard me. Dignity.
I wanted to buy that meat for her. I wanted to take my bottle of liquor back inside, return it, and buy her that roast.
But it was too late.
Later as I drank my spiked cranberry tea, I thought of her.