It’s not always there. Especially during the crazed shopping frenzies at this time of year, courtesy can be in short supply.
I had to make a stop at the Walmart. They have those motorized carts for those of us whose bodies aren’t as young as they used to be. Sometimes, they’re all already gone, but today there was one sitting there waiting just for me. Only, as I got closer, I could see that it hadn’t been plugged back in.
You’d think, wouldn’t you, that people who rely on these carts would have the courtesy to take a few extra seconds to plug them back in so they’re ready for the next person?
Well, I switched it on and the display showed that the battery was full, so I climbed on and started my journey through the jungle. Had my basket about 3/4 full when I glanced down and noticed that the display was down to one bar.
Not good. And in the next eyeblink, it started beeping at me.
Phooey. I was all the way at the back of the store, but I headed for the front. Do you think I saw one single employee wandering around looking for someone to rescue? Nah.
Well, I made it to the front, beeping and attracting attention the whole way, when a woman approached and asked if I were finished, could she have the cart? I told her my situation, and we both were frustrated. About that time, an old dude with a Santa beard drove his cart from the parking lot into the cart area, and this woman, a bit younger than I, offered to park mine, plug it in, transfer my groceries and she would wait until the next one showed up.
Wow. Impressive. As we both worked at emptying my dead cart’s load into the new one, I thanked her profusely. She brushed it off. “Just pay it forward,” she said.
Okay. I can do that. I plugged in the dead cart and made my way back into the store. Finished my shopping, toodled out to the parking lot. Yesterday was a blustery day, and I was looking forward to being done. I emptied my cart into the back of my station wagon, locked up the car, got back on the cart and started driving it back up the parking lot to plug it in for the next user when a man stopped me and asked if I’d like him to drive it back in for me.
“Would you do that for me? Really? That would be wonderful! Just make sure you plug it in, won’t you?”
“Oh, yes ma’am. I try to do this whenever I can, when I shop here or at other stores that have carts available. Just something I’ve kind of taken on as a volunteer service.”
I gladly got off, thanked him again, and went back to my car. Thinking about it on the way home, I remembered how disgusted I’d been that someone hadn’t bothered to plug my first cart back in. Such a simple little courtesy. But then I had to think about the woman who was kind enough to help me make the switch, and the gentleman outside who keeps an eye out for people like me.
I had to say a quick thanks to the Lord for reminding me that NOT everyone is selfish and thoughtless. That there are many, many people out there who are kind and courteous, and that I need to be sure that I’m on that team.
I’ll pay it forward whenever I can.