Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Old Lady and the Tramp

Have you ever experienced something so shocking that you think to yourself, "I can't believe this is really happening?" 

I did.  Last night.

Please allow me to share this experience with you. 

I've been having pain in my wrist likely due to excessive use of the computer mouse.  My mother has worked at a doctor's office for a lot of years, specifically an orthopaedic office, so she suggested that I get a wrist brace to wear at work...where most of my mouse-use occurs.

So last night, she and my dad took me to the drugstore to pick out the right kind of brace.  (We are a very close family...what can I say?)  Mom picked up a couple of items and then we found the supports.  After much comparison and deliberation we finally found the perfect brace and headed to the register to pay.

This is where the real story begins.

The register was empty.  There was no cashier to be seen.  There was, however, a woman's purse and a Subway bag on the counter.

So we waited...for like two minutes.  We figured the cashier was helping someone find an item somewhere in the store. 

Finally, the cashier returned to the register...alone.  She slid the purse and Subway bag to the end of the counter and began ringing up my mother's items.  As mom slid her debit card in the machine and as I was standing in line right behind her, this woman walked up to the counter with a bottle of allergy medicine.  She wedged herself in line ahead of me and started reaching over my mom to hand the cashier her medication. 

My mother said, "Excuse me, but my daughter was next in line."

The lady, who was probably 75 years old, said, "I was in line before all of you people and I am next.  Actually, I was ahead of you (talking to my mother) and you skipped me.  I just had to go over there and get something."

***Let me take this opportunity to tell you that I have a big mouth.  I am not afraid to say how I feel, often to the detriment and embarrassment of the people with me.  Back to the story.***

I explained to the lady that being over "there" meant that she wasn't "here," in line.  She barked something back to me and continued to use her body to move me out of her way.

That's when I said, "Wow.  You are really grouchy."

She turned around and looked at me up and down.  Literally.  She started at my feet and moved her gaze up all the way to my head and said to me, "You are a tramp."

She called me a tramp!  Those words actually came out of her mouth!

People, I was wearing a back cotton dress to my knees and flip flops.  I wasn't dressed like a tramp at all.  But I have to tell blood was boiling.

So I replied, "Well, you are old.  Really old.  You are a very old lady."

By this time, she was done checking out but wouldn't move.  She just stood there...staring at me.  I handed the cashier my items from the end of the counter and began taking out my wallet...but she was still standing there.

Finally, I said, "I really just wish you would move out of my way.  Please move."

She finally moved and I finally paid.  Thankfully.

I know what you are thinking...I am a terrible person.  I should have ignored her.  I should have just quietly let her check out in front of me.

Or maybe you are thinking that I should have tripped her on the way out of the store. 

The truth is, that there was a time in my life when I would have said something very mean to her or used foul language.  There was a time when I would have made her feel very small.  There was a time when I probably would have been so rude that the manager would have kicked me out of the store....forever.

But I didn't do any of those things.  I probably didn't handle myself exactly the way Jesus would have but I didn't embarrass myself either.

When it was all over, I felt bad.  Not bad for what I said to her.  I felt bad because I realized that there was only one sandwich in her bag and that she was probably going home to an empty house.  I wonder if our conversation (if you could even call it a conversation) was the only one she had that day.

If I had it to do all over again, I would have offered to pay for her items.  Not that she needed money.  Believe me.  She drove away in a Cadillac.  But she probably just needed someone to be nice to her.

Even so...that didn't give her a right to be so ugly.

I couldn't imagine being that...mean and crabby.  Ya'll...she exuded ugliness. 

As an aside...I really wish that cashier would have stepped up to the plate and admitted that she moved that lady's stuff out of the way and voluntarily began checking us out first.  But then again...she was probably afraid of the old lady. 

What would you have done or said?  I think it was a learning experience for me.  And if it was a test, I probably failed miserably. 

All I can say is, "He's still workn' on me, To make me what I ought to be."

My Alabaster Jar


  1. When I saw this on FB, I knew it would be a blog. LOL I blog about my bad experiences as well. Too bad there are so many of them.

  2. My mouth gets ahead of me sometimes too. I later regret it but at the time feel justified. It does not happen often anymore but it is still a hard place to be. Of course later on I beat myself up over my words. I hope you are not doing that today. His Forgiveness is enough. Always.

    Thankfully He is still working on us!

  3. This makes me wonder if you it was the lady who lives across the street from me... ;) Sorry... Shame on you Erin:) bwhaha love you.

  4. Wow, and I can't talk. I think that was a mixture of 'if you encountered the lady that lives across the street from me' and 'if it was the lady...' sheesh. :D

  5. Wow! I do not know what I would have done in that situation. Inside my head I might imagine saying what you said or losing my temper, but normally I'm just a wuss and don't say anything. If the old you would have used foul language and been cruel then I say you did alright, that's definitely an improvement. And the fact that you thought about her and how lonely she must be shows compassion, something that I wouldn't have noticed (I'd probably still be griping about her calling me a tramp!).

    I love that you ended with God's still workin' on me!

  6. I am sorry this happened to you. I think I've lost it a time or two with people who were rude to me, and didn't realize they probably just were having a bad day. We've all been there, and I am so thankful He's still working on me!

  7. oh! From a fellow big mouther, don't beat yourself up. I probably would have said something too. =)

  8. I had to laugh but yeah...this woman would have benefited from a little love. BTW, did you get my email. You won the giveaway on my sit and I need your address so I can send it to you. Have a great weekend.

  9. I hate confrontation so I would have just silently moved away from her. Wish i had a bit more of your forthrightness--but maybe not THAT much. hahahahaha