More than a Mere Coupon

by Marilda Mel White
California, USA

More Than a Mere Coupon

There was nothing in the house to eat and I was hungry. I was also  downright grouchy because I had to go to the store before I could have breakfast. I don’t much like starting a day like that.

Adding to my frustration, by the time I got to the market I couldn’t remember anything else I needed. I wandered around and finally picked up a 40-pound bag of dog food and a few other things and headed for the checkout. There were only three checkers working and every one of them had a long line, further fueling my bad mood.

Then I really picked the wrong line. The people in front of me had two carts full, and as the checker started ringing them up, they worried out loud that they might not have enough money for everything. They started sorting things into “must have” and “maybe” piles and checking the sub-total after every beep.

I understood their situation (I’ve been there too), but they were going to take forever and I just wanted to get home to eat my donuts. Then it hit me — I’d forgotten to pick up the donuts for my breakfast!

I left to get the things that had brought me to the store in the first place, and back at the check stand a few moments later, crankier than ever, I picked a different line. The woman ahead of me there looked at my cart and said, “I think I have a coupon for that.”

“What?” I said, rather stupidly. I was so sure that every minute of the day was going to be rotten that I didn’t realize yet that my fortune was turning. “The dog food,” she said, going through an envelope. “I’m sure I have a coupon for that.”

She found it and handed it to me. I noticed then that she had the same brand of dog food in her cart, so I suggested she might want to save the coupon for herself. “Oh no,” she said, “I have plenty of these. You’re welcome to it.”

I took it and thanked her profusely. The woman probably thought I was overdoing it with my many thanks for a $3.00 coupon, but then again, I wasn’t just thanking her for a mere coupon.

I was thanking her for reminding me that sometimes when I least expect it (and least deserve it), some small, kind act by a stranger can hit me smack dab between the eyes and turn my whole day around.

Originally published as HeroicStories #355 on Nov 7, 2002

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