At the supermarket at 3 a.m.

Mark Evanier, a writer who lives in the Los Angeles area, wrote on his blog about how he was in a supermarket about 3 a.m., and the lady ahead of him in line suddenly found that her credit card balance was insufficient to pay for her $35 worth of groceries.  It was obvious that she had no cash and no other way to pay for food, and she gave a cry of ultimate despair.

Evanier and the other people in line chipped in to pay for the groceries, and gave her $30 in addition.  She wept with gratitude and relief, and left, thanking everyone again and again.  He wrote:

I asked the checker, “How often does that happen?”

He said, “Maybe twice a week. When it happens, it happens most often on the late shift. But usually, they swear the card is good and our system is screwed-up. They get angry at us, like it’s our fault they can’t pay. Sometimes, customers like you pay for them. A couple of times, I’ve felt so bad for the people that I’ve paid for them. That’s if it’s only a few dollars. I couldn’t have paid for this woman. Not on what we get paid here.”

The next person in line said, “If you pay for them, do they come back the next night figuring you’ll pay for them again?”

He said, “No, never. We never see them again. That woman who just left here…you will never see her in this market again. It’s too painful. It just reminds them of how bad off they were that night.”

via News From ME.

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