God shows me every day how good He is and how good freedom is — even though I continuously struggle. The struggle is real, even when you are no longer in abuse. I struggle so I never have to go back to relying on someone that is abusive. My honey and I are broke and happy.
So, I have had to recently take a part-time job with Dollar General, in addition to my full-time job. I have a very low-key job, being a cashier and stocking shelves. It’s tiring but doesn’t require a lot of in-depth thought. However, it is still working with and helping the public-at-large.
The other day, I had a woman come through my line with a jar of Smucker’s “Goober Grape” peanut butter and jelly. She was painfully thin, skin tanned, aged from a hard life, minimally dressed, with a fanny-pack full of [money] change, which she scooped out and tossed on the counter.
“Could you price check this for me, please?” she asked.
I complied. “It’s $3.64.”
She then blew all of her breath she was holding in, in order to receive my answer. “Well, shoot…and then there’s tax too.”
I smiled, warmly. “No, hon, there’s no tax on food in Indiana. You just need $3.64.”
You could see her eyes light up. “Is it okay to count my money to see if I have enough?”
“Of course,” I agreed. I waited patiently while she started to count.
Meanwhile, a male customer came up to the counter behind her, with two items. I greeted him and told him that it would be just a moment.
“Can I just go ahead?” he gruffly asked.
I looked at him directly in the eyes, still smiling, and stated, “I will be with you in a moment, sir, or you can use the self-checkout. It’s free at the moment.” Still smiling and nodding at him, he looked away and started grumbling.
I turned my attention back to her. She was on her 4th time of recounting it, obviously frustrated.
“You want me to count it for you?” I offered. She nodded.
I counted her crumpled ones and change. “Looks like you have $2.81. Not quite enough.” I scooted it back to her. “We have a store brand of the same peanut butter and jelly combo?” I offered. “I think you have enough for that?”
She looked as though she was going to says something, but the irritated man behind me shouted, at that moment, “DO I REALLY HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THIS SH*T? SHE NEEDS TO MOVE! SHE DOESN’T HAVE IT!” It was then that she scooped up her change into her fanny pack and took the jar and hurried back to the display in the store.
“Was that really necessary?” I asked him. He grumbled something about me waiting on a “meth whore” and wasting his valuable time. I scanned his two items, took his money, gave him change, and my eyes never left his. Ironically, he wouldn’t meet mine.
“Is there anything else, sir?” I asked. He shook his head, still not looking at me. “Well, I hope you have a great rest of your day and I hope you find some peace.” My last statement made him finally look up at me, in the eye this time, very quizzically with raised eyebrows. He grabbed his bag and took it, walking out with his head down. Maybe he realized his hateful behavior — I have no way of knowing, but I’m hopeful.
There were no more customers waiting to be checked out, so I went back to stocking, not seeing the thin woman anywhere. People could be so hateful, but it was something that I refused to subscribe to. I lived with the embodiment of hate for so long, I vowed that I would only sow love into the world. That’s why I’m in social services. People fall. on hard times and deserve kindness — yes, even the ones that might be playing the system. I still help A LOT of worthy people!
The lady came back in later in the afternoon, more change jingling. She was about to use our self-checkout like a Coinstar, which jams it up if a person isn’t careful, and may not return all of the cash when someone decides to abort the transaction. I stopped her and offered to count her money again at the counter. She smiled, gratefully.
“I don’t want the generic jar. I like the Goober brand, because it tastes better, and I know I’m a goober in real life, ” she joked, lightly. It was a statement I could appreciate, so I smiled and nodded.
She was still 37 cents shy, which I could tell disappointed her further. “How about look around the parking lot? People drop change out there ALL the time,” I suggested.
She perked up and scooped her change up again, running out to the parking lot. She did return about half an hour later. She had the $3.64 with 75 cents over. “Maybe I can get me a drink now too?” she giggled. I certainly hope she found the change she needed and didn’t beg for it or take it out of parked cars. I’m thinking she may have bummed it, but all I could see was a woman desperately needing to eat. She has every right to survive, as do the rest of us. I suggested buns or crackers with her purchase, with her extra change? From her fanny pack, she pulled out a plastic wrapped plastic spoon that she had gotten from the gas station next door, and held it up to show me. I smiled and nodded. I eat peanut butter with spoon too.
As I left that evening, I purposely dropped a little bit of change I had in my car — for whomever might need it. My personal finances are so tight it’s ridiculous, with me even resorting to limiting myself to one or two meals a day at times, but if that helps someone else eat, I’m good. God provides, even through others. He feeds my soul and nourishes my body and mind. I am so grateful He saved me so that I may witness blessings and lessons! Love and light! <3