Standing patiently in line, I glanced around to see if there was another lane open. I wasn’t in a rush, but I only had a few items: a package of ground turkey, three sweet potatoes, a head of lettuce, hot sauce, and a bottle of olive oil. I had plenty of seasoning at home, and I could slap together some olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dress my head of lettuce. Craving turkey meatloaf for dinner is what dragged me to the supermarket in the middle of the day.
It was lunchtime, and I figured I’d dash over to the market grab my ingredients and be back at my client’s office in a snap. It took me less than 15 minutes to find a parking space, enter the market and find my items. Apparently, I didn’t plan well with picking my checkout line. The non-English speaking lady, all of 4 feet and a few inches tall, dug desperately through her handbag. Her toddler clinging to her leg stared up at her. The gallon of milk, a loaf of bread, a box of cereal, and a jar of peanut butter and jelly sat still on the conveyor belt, waiting to cross over to the side where the plastic shopping bags lay.
The cashier looked annoyed, holding the five-dollar bill in his hand. He said nothing. The dark-haired woman kept digging through her bag for several more "eternity" seconds. “I don't know,” she finally said. “Maybe not this,” she said handing the cashier the box of cereal. “How much now? The college prep-looking clerk shook his head and replied, “You’re still short.”
Enough already my brain said to myself. “Just add it to my bill,” I told the buzz cut kid. He stood still, looking confused.
“Ring all these up together,” I said pushing my items closer until they merged with the lady’s items in front of me.
“You want me to add her items to your bill?” The cashier asked in an indignant tone.
Yes, Mary, Jane, Dick Head is what I wanted to say but instead responded, “bag her items, then bag mine separately please.” The cashier nodded and placed the lady’s groceries in the plastic bag and handed them to her along with the five-dollar bill. The clerk pointed to me and then said to the woman, “She paid.”
The little Mujer covered her mouth with one hand as a tear crested one of her eyelids. “Gracias. Dios Te Bendiga.” She grabbed my hand. “Thank you.”
“No, thank you,” I replied as she went left and I stayed right.
Monique Gilmore Scott