What is the Sequoia project?
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Sharing a Christmas meal.
We always shop at a grocery store where it takes a quarter to use their carts. When it’s returned the quarter is given back. All the carts are linked together with small chains. The reason for this is because carts are not left out in their parking lot. Cuts costs in employees and in turn savings are passed on to customers.
After our shopping we returned our cart to the area where they are lined up at. I had a pocket full of quarters so decided to unlock as many carts as I could. Just a simple way to make people smile in getting theirs for free. No big deal and didn’t think much about it.
While preparing to pull out of the parking lot we noticed an elderly lady pushing all the carts back together and taking the quarters that come sliding back out at the same time. This wasn’t what we intended. At first I just shook my head and was a little upset. When I seen the clothes this lady was wearing my attitude changed. It was in the middle of winter and her coat had holes in it. She had tennis shoes on and no boots. I understood better why she was doing what she was. These quarters were needed. Sandi looked at me and said we should stop and give her some money. Sounded like a good thing to do but we didn’t have any. We had paid for ours with a swipe card and the quarters I had she had already taken.
What we did have was food though. We shop at this particular place because of the prices. Its like a warehouse of generic labeled food. We don’t mind and the costs really are about 50% less, throughout the year, as a regular grocery store. Food is food in my book. The fancy packaging and colors means nothing. Most of our funds are put towards our home with hopes to someday pass it along to our children. Instead of a 30-year mortgage we have a 15-year one. Things are always tight but we are so much better off than millions. At least we had a home.
I backed up the car, got out, and opened the trunk of our car where the food was placed. We had picked up two turkeys because they were on sale and many meals can be made from just one. The biggest one was picked out and taken over to the woman. She looked surprised and relived when I told her to have a Merry Christmas. I think she thought I was going to say something about her taking the quarters. This concern on her face soon changed to an expression of relief. I didn’t want to hurt her pride and shared that we had bought an extra one by accident and didn’t want to deal with the crowds inside the store. Her face light up and we thought for a moment she was going to cry. Told her that it was no big deal and we had plenty to share.
How we respond to people in need is what makes the human spirit what it is. We didn’t do this because we wanted to be thanked or looked at as nice people. We did it because it was the right thing to do. That little voice that tells us what’s right and wrong was listened to. When so many people were shopping for Christmas presents and going about holiday plans this lady probably had none. Her concern was making it through the next 24-years.
That night, before sleep came, I said a prayer for this lady with no name. I prayed that she find peace and hope this coming new year and that her life would be transformed. Nobody should ever have to survive on the change that many take for granted. I don’t know what will ever happen to her but did know that she would not go hungry on that night. Maybe her life will change and she will remember this simple act and return it to another. You just never know how far one and seemly small thing will impact another’s’ life.