Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Ginger Ale in Line


--by twocents, posted Jan 11, 2007

I was at a popular local grocery store at exactly the wrong time -- just after everyone was getting off work.  This is the kind of grocery store where it sometimes takes 15 minutes just to find parking. 

When I got inside, the lines for the express lane were the entire length of a grocery store aisle.  The store was jam-packed and people were regularly having to adjust their gaits and paths to navigate the crowded aisles.  Luckily, I had a fairly small shopping list requiring only a handbasket and made my way through the store much more quickly and efficiently than all of the people with large carts. 

Some 30 minutes later, I had another lucky break by quickly finding a checkout aisle with only four customers in it.  As I was waiting in line, a woman in the next checkout line called someone and asked if they wanted ginger ale. They apparently did, and she had forgotten to pick some up. She told the other person she was afraid to get out of line to go grab the ginger ale, because it would cost her another 30 minutes to get out of the store because of the insanely long lines.  As she was talking, I remembered a very fine ginger ale I had tried on New Year's Eve and simultaneously wanted to get some for myself as I sympathized with the poor soul who would be missing that kind of pleasure. 

I quickly emptied my basket on the conveyor, and asked the woman if she wanted some ginger ale, because I myself had to go get some and would be happy to bring her a case as well.  She was pleased and told me the brand she wanted, and I hurried off to get it.  They actually didn't have the brand that I wanted, but they did have the brand she wanted.  I picked up the case, brought it back to her.  She beamed, and I got back in line.  The previous customer had just been checked out, and it was serendipitously my turn by the time I returned. 

 The checkout clerk scanned my items and the bagger bagged them.  As I grabbed my bags, I looked back at the other line and saw that the woman for whom I brought the ginger ale.  She was still four packed carts back from the checkout, but had now been smiling for three minutes.  It was so nice to instantly respond to the need that someone close by had expressed, and it somehow felt better than I was only able to come back with a case of the ginger ale for her. 

I think her smile lasted so long because it must have seemed to her that I was just making up an excuse to be nice to her and never really needed any ginger ale for myself after all.

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Readers Comments

Sanara wrote: - the over all consensus is so true. Gorgeous bride, gorouges groom, gorouges photos. They look so happy, especially the bride, she looks to be smiling in every photo. I hope were like that
papaya wrote: Great Story! Bet it made that woman's day!
LOVEBUG wrote: I am so new at this computer thing but I have been trying to get a grip, I see you posted your story Jan 3, 2007 and I only stubled on it March 3l, 2007 I can only hope my own kindness will develope faster than my computer skills
earthling wrote: The spontaneity of your response is amazing. I picture myself in this situation and I would have done couple of minutes of analysis before deciding to give up my position in the line.
hiloecho wrote: That's great that you put another's needs before yours and you helped. It means a lot in the scheme of life to be kind to others.
This also reminded me of the Geroge Carlin routine where he talks about being in line and letting the person behind him go in front of him as he likes the feeling of being "next".

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