Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Angels at Winco

Shopping during the holidays can be rough. In fact it can be downright brutal. Women eye my cart suspiciously to see if I have the last of something they want. Tempers flare, people but in line, complain and often, in my affluent neck of the woods, have a pained constipated expression.

Today I went to WinCo for our weekly grocery shop. It is not in my neighborhood and is frequented by a much wider population base. Most of the shoppers come from a lower income base and it shows by the clothing and harsh make up. But, chicken is on sale 3 pounds for $3.78. Langers Cranberry juice for $.98, 2 pounds of cheese is $2.98. I'm telling you prices at WinCo are unbeatable.

The aisles were crowded 10 carts deep and we crawled along in a mass of carts and humanity seeking a bargain. I felt a bit conspicuous as I trotted down the produce section in my brown velvet/fur coat, designer shirt, long dangly earrings, and manicured hands. Yet, no ill will came my way. In fact, in this horrid crowd, all smiled kindly at each other (that never happens at my grocery store) and waited politely for others to move. At the bell peppers I overheard a discussion on whether or not they could afford the pepper. Would he be able to collect that certain $20 check?

I waited in line for a good 10 minutes. The couple in front of me worked like a well oiled machine, each helping the other as they emptied their overflowing cart. Then the husband rubbed her shoulders as she leaned into him. My heart smiled.

I dropped a coupon I needed. The slightly greying Hispanic man behind me swiftly bent over and offered it to me with a smile. My long line of groceries took some time to ring up, and even longer to take off each coupon. Some time during this, I looked down to the end of the conveyor belt to see that the gentleman behind me had left his cart and gone to the end to bag my groceries. Carefully double bagged, he finished my entire order before returning to his place with his paper towels and fruit in our long line.

I was speechless. Why did he do that? Why did he do that for me? I certainly didn't look like I needed any assistance or pity, perhaps the opposite. Yet, he quietly served someone he'd never met and would never see again. I thanked him. He smiled and awkwardly responded. I walked out singing Christmas carols. I sang as I drove. Tears fell as I knew I had witnessed a latter day shepard, never too busy, too rushed to look for traces of the king, even in an overdressed white lady.

I've longed to see an angel. I've pondered the amazing fact that some have entertained angels unaware. Today, I think I might have met one at WinCo.

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