It’s almost turkey time, Thanksgiving is just a few day away, yummmm (yes, the Red Robin jingle). It seems to come around quicker and quicker every year! One thing that I always ask myself this time of year as I am sure you do, “what does Thanksgiving mean to me?”
It seems like it would be such a simple question, but I find myself being thankful for the same things. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad thing, but shouldn’t we really find something different to be thankful on top of everything else that we already have been?
I have been pondering this question the entire month. What else could I possibly add to my list besides my family, friends, and health? I just had no clue! I am thankful for each one of those things, but it actually seemed kind of selfish to be to not be thankful for more.
Then it hit me the other day while I was picking up a few odds and ends in preparation of the big day. I had already gone through the store and got all the items that I needed too. When I arrived at the checkout line I spotted a disgruntled lady, begging the cashier to run her food stamp card just one time. This woman, who was an older lady, was told by the cashier that the system had been down all day. No matter how many times that she tried to run the card that it would not work because the system was still down.
Normally, I would have been just mildly sympathetic for a woman in this situation. Even slightly agitated that she was holding up a line full of customers waiting to pay for their own groceries. The woman had apparently been up there already for a good amount of time, as the customers behind her were visibly annoyed at the scene that she was creating. Some of them even mumbling to where the woman could hear them, “she needed to hurry up, that her card was no good today”. I could see myself also becoming one of those people fairly quickly if the situation persisted.
The mild sympathy that I had quickly turned to genuine sadness when the woman, still pleading with cashier, that these groceries were going to be put up for Thanksgiving. That if she didn’t buy them now, that she would likely not be able to provide a good holiday for her husband and children. To which the cashier promptly replied that there was nothing that she could do. The sadness I was now feeling was further increased by the brokenhearted appearance that came across the cashiers face as she told the woman this. After noticing this, I glanced at the customers who had previously been ready to behead this older lady, they were now expressing visible signs of the same emotions that I was feeling myself.
It was at this point that something extraordinary happened, the likes of which I have rarely seen, the person that was in the line directly behind her asked the cashier how much the woman owed. Obviously stunned, the cashier told the gentleman $75.25. At this, the man’s look of sadness deepened even more. He told the cashier that he only had $25. Then the woman behind him piped up and said that she had $10 that she would be willing to add with that so that she could at least get some of the food. However, after that, everyone in line started chiming in that they would be willing to contribute so that her family could have a good Thanksgiving. Before it was all said and done, the woman ended up having the entire $75.25, myself contributing to the cause also.
As I was driving home from the store, which isn’t much of a hassle since I live fairly close, I began thinking about my question again. “What does Thanksgiving mean to me?” What could I possibly add to the list of things that I have had for so many years? Then I thought back to the store, it was truly a unique experience to see so many people coming together to help give a woman a great Thanksgiving for her family. It hit me like a ton of bricks! To me, Thanksgiving means being thankful for the few people in this often dark world willing to contribute to the aid of a stranger. With that, I came to the perfect way for me to exemplify this new found thankfulness. I decided to find the closest place to donate to the victims of the recent hurricane in the Philippines and made it a point to give to those panhandling in the recent cold wave so they can get warm and feed their soul.
In my very little way, I wanted them to be able to experience the thankfulness of a complete stranger in their time of need.
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