Just Come Back Later

by Guy Slater
Tennessee, USA

My wife and I moved to the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee in November of 2005, from a large metropolitan area to a very rural area. While moving we had the help of our adult daughter and our 2-year-old granddaughter.

Just Come Back LaterDuring the hectic days of moving into our new home, we ate out in the local community a lot. One evening we decided to have dinner at “Cindy’s Catfish Kitchen.”

Cindy’s is a buffet style restaurant, all you can eat. It had been a long day of moving boxes and furniture, and tomorrow would see us on the long drive back to our former home for another load, a thousand mile long trip. We were all tired, and our granddaughter was cranky to top it all off. But the buffet was great, and we ended our meal feeling rested and relaxed.

When I went to pay our bill, card in hand, the waitress cashier told me that Cindy’s didn’t have the ability to take either credit or debit cards. Being from the “big city,” using a credit or debit card was the norm. Oops!

I had no cash in my pocket, but about 10 miles back down the road I’d seen a bank with an ATM. I told the lady that I would leave my family there and return in a few minutes to pay for our meals.

“Oh, y’all don’t have to do that,” she told me. “You just come back some time and pay us then.”

WHAT!? These people had never seen me before, did not know if I would ever return, yet they trusted me to return to pay for three adult meals? This is not something that I had ever encountered in the big city, that’s for sure.

We have lived here for almost six years, and every single week I see other acts of trust like this happening. It may be a “country” thing, or just plain Southern hospitality.

Whatever it is, I certainly like it, and I pass on this kindness every chance I get.

Originally published as HeroicStories #837 on Oct 4, 2011

4 thoughts on “Just Come Back Later”

  1. What a wonderful welcome to your new home. I’m so glad it was an example of how people are in your new community – and that you have chosen to “pass it on” every chance you get, helping to make the world a better place.

  2. As incredible as this may seem, I was running late for work and ran off with out my wallet. However, I didn’t discover it until I got to the drive thru window to pay! Embarrassed, I asked for the manager and explained my situation, telling her I’d be back in a half hour or so, to pick up my food and pay. To my shock, she insisted I take the food and come back and pay the next time I passed their way! The biggest shocker? I Live in Southern California!!!!

  3. There are kind and good people everywhere. The difference I have found that makes “country folks” do so many kind-hearted things is that they have the time and space to grow, to mature, to breathe, to be as good as they can be–and to pass it on. In the cities, we often don’t have the time or space to be simply good, and when we try to be good, we’re often victimized by those who’ve never been able or not been raised to treat people as we’d like to be treated or who just don’t have TIME.

    Long ago, I spent a few years in a different part of the South. One of my co-workers used to say, “Life ain’t easy. It’s easier if you let other people help and then return the favor.”


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