Yesterday, I gave someone a quarter.
But, I am getting ahead of myself. Here is my story:
I went out to lunch with hubby. It was glorious. We rested on a blanket at the park where we ate and talked and laughed. Sigh. Lovely.
Then, after bringing him a frappucino surprise on my way back to town, I climbed into a little thrift store to see what I could see-ee-ee.
I found a 25 cent vase that matches some vases I already have. Score.
While I was there, however, I noticed a small family: mom, 4-year-oldish girl and two-year-oldish boy. She had a british accent. The little girl had a piece of fabric that I believe she intended to use to make a dress for the Barbie she was clutching. The little boy had a coloring book. The total for this purchase was a handful of change. As I purused a few shelves and waited to pay for my little vase, the woman realized she didn’t have enough change.
She began to get upset. She decided they wouldn’t get one of the items and began saying, “I’m sorry” to her daughter again and again in a whiny voice, accompanied with, “This is so embarrassing.” It all rang a bit phony to me to be honest. She was being extrememly dramatic. The little girl whimpered, but didn’t throw a fit.
Then, it turned out, they were short 18 cents for the other purchases. The mom started to become angry. She told the girl to go find her quarter in her bike basket. It wasn’t there. Then, she lost it. Whiny voice increased. The, “I’m so embarrased” statements now acquired the word “bloody”. She stomped up the stairs to look for the lost quarter, claiming that she was mad, that they never should have stopped there, and that the girl was embarrassing her.
By this point, I became completely convinced that the woman had come into the store, fully realizing that she didn’t have enough money, but intent on extracting the sympathy of the sales lady through her antics and the woes of her little girl.
Not finding the quarter, she told the woman that they wouldn’t buy the fabric and stormed out, screeching about her bloody embarrassment and practically in fake tears. By this point the little girl was sobbing. However, they weren’t tantrum tears, but real, sad tears. The poor thing. Her mother was acting like a shrew. I mean, come on. It is NOT thaaaaat embarrassing to realize that you have come to the store without enough $$. You apologize and move on. I don’t know the circumstances, but I was irked at the mother’s ploy and the fact that her children were suffering.
I paid my 27 cents (with tax) and headed to my car, watching the little blonde girl cry as her mother ranted and fiddled with a stroller (I think she was hoping the sales lady would come out and offer them the items). She kept referring to the sales lady and the fact that she didn’t understand why she couldn’t let them have their purchase.
Despite not wanting to satisfy this woman who was upsetting her child with her anger, I hated to see the little girl so upset. She wanted to make her doll a dress beause she, “didn’t have any pretty dresses.” So, I took out a quarter and handed it to them. The mom thanked me and they were in and out of the store in the next 30 seconds with the fabric swatch.
It affected me. I should have said something. I should have told her that she didn’t need to talk to her 4-year-old like that, that she didn’t need to make such a big deal out of it, that she didn’t need to scare her children. I didn’t say anything though. I just handed them the quarter.
I don’t know their circumstances. I don’t know what is going to happen to that little girl in the future and my heart aches for her. I didn’t say anything when I had the chance. Now, what can I do? I can pray. I can pray for that little blonde girl who needs a mommy’s love. I can pray for that little boy who will grow to be a man and will learn how to treat women from his mother. I can pray that they will hear the gospel. I can also pray that the Lord will give me words when I have none. I can trust Him despite the ache in my heart when I think of that little girl.
Who knew 25 cents could make such a difference? For them it was an instant and it is gone now. But, here I am, still pondering it. I hope I don’t forget.