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 you...my 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."