Keep calm and __

March 13, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

I saw a homeless man carrying his possessions in a camping backpack and peering at a 4-ounce bottle of aloe vera. His straggly hair crept out of his stocking cap.

I forgot him as I walked to the back of the neighborhood Walmart, scanning aisles filled to the ceiling with shampoo and diapers. Then I stopped at the final aisle.

Oh.

empty shelf at store during panic of coronavirus I left empty-handed but stopped at the Girl Scouts selling cookies outside the store. The homeless man was there, with his new aloe vera bottle and his old backpack.

"Well, I can't buy anything but ... here's a dollar," he said, and dropped a crumpled bill into a woman's hands. Stunned, the kids and adults stared at him as he walked away.

"Wait, excuse me," I said, running toward him. "Can I buy you a box? What's your favorite?"

"Ah, that's ok," he said.

"No, really, what's your favorite?" I asked, "Or, are there any you don't like?"

"I'll eat any of 'em," he relented, "Whatever you pick."

"These are my favorite, I said, shoving a box of peanut butter patties in his hands.

The scouts and their parents thanked me as a woman swiped my card.

"Well, he gave you guys a dollar, and he couldn't buy anything!" I said.

And I added - to be impish, but it's true:

"I'm not a scout, but we all have to be Girl Scouts right now."

 


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