Friday, July 23, 2010

Check THIS out!

I don't mind going to the grocery store unless it's what I call 'a big shopping' know, all the normal stuff plus all those really heavy things you hate to carry home but finally have to? Mr. Z did about 70% of the grocery shopping mostly because he worked here at home and liked to get out as much as he could. Sometimes, we shopped together and he always did the heavy lifting. And, I DO buy heavy things like all of us do; large bottles of cranberry juice, heavy milk cartons, canned stuff, a couple of bottles of wine, cleaning supplies, large water containers, etc. So, shopping/lifting is not my favorite thing and I procrastinate so badly that I really need a lot of stuff when I go. (and yes, Mr. Z spoiled me, I know that)

Today at the checkout, when the girl was filling my bags, she asked as they always do "Can I help you out to the car?" And, as I always do, I joked "NO, but I wish you could help me from my car to my
HOUSE when I get there." There are usually a LOT of bags and I sometimes have to park a little down the street, and then there are a few steps up to my front door, so it's often not an easy endeavor. And yes, this is not a hardship for most people, but I'm admittedly a bit lazy and really can't carry very heavy things. Today, something happened I had to share.

When I got home from the store, trunk full of bags, there was a parking spot smack dab in front of my front door but the spot was just a little too tight to pull into. I saw there was a fellow sitting in the driver's seat of the pickup truck whose moving would allow me enough room, so I pulled up next to him and smiled and, taking a big chance considering the reaction I might get, I gestured that his moving back a few feet would help me park there..... He pointed his thumb to the back of his truck as if "move back?" I nodded my head and he moved his truck back. He parked again and I went to his open window and said "Thanks so much....I have a lot of groceries and being able to park this close thanks to you really helped." I opened my trunk and took two bags up to my front door, left them there, unlocked and opened my front door, and walked back down and across the sidewalk to my car to start the unloading and the young man yelled out his window "Could you use my help?"

A young guy, about 23 yrs old, big and husky, Hispanic (I think) and he wants to help me? I said "I couldn't impose, but thanks so much for asking!" He said "
No problem!" and, as I stood at at the back of my car thinking what an incredibly nice kid he must be, he actually got out of his truck, picked up a bunch of bags from my trunk and, instead of putting the bags next to the ones I'd left at the front door, he went right INTO the house! WHAT? I thought "I don't even KNOW this kid and he's helping me..... and he's IN my house!" I have to admit he was inside a few more minutes than I felt comfortable with but I forced myself to stand there, not run in and check. He came out, big smile, and took more bags, and then we both brought bags in.

Before he went outside to get the last few bags, I said "You must have awfully nice parents" and he said "
They are!" He put the rest of the bags where he'd put the first batch, on the dining room table, and I walked him to the door, noticing that he'd closed my trunk for me, too!

Isn't it kind of sad this nice gesture should be so unusual that I'd feel I had to blog it? Wouldn't you think this should be 'normal'? Maybe it once was, but it's not anymore, not in a big city like LA, anyway. It made me feel so good that I had to share it. I had told him he gave me back my faith in people and he laughed!

We get so mired down with bad news and 'learning' not to trust, don't we? I hope this young man really heard how grateful I was.
Do you have a 'kindness of strangers' story? Wasn't this a nice one?



beamish said...

I kept myself stocked up on comic books as a kid running to help elderly neighbors unload their groceries from their cars. At least a few of them were good to give me $5 for doing so, but I would do it for free anyway simply because it was the gracious and nice thing to do. Five dollars, in the late 1970s / early 1980s, is roughly 15 or 16 dollars today, adjusted for inflation.

(In college, going broke and needing groceries myself, I finally cashed out my treasure trove of collected comic books, many of the most valuable ones were originally purchased in my childhood from money voluntarily given to me for just being nice enough to haul bags of groceries into other people's houses and / or helping put them away. And they were worth a lot more than their cover price when I did it.)

Even if there's no immediate payoff in being decent, there is a payoff. There was always joy in helping others when I could.

I guess I was raised that way.

Z said...

Nice, Beamish...and, I agree about being raised that way, it's why I mentioned that kid's parents to him. Bingo.
$5 for carrying groceries is a lot TODAY. You know, I thought of giving this guy some money but I thought maybe not.....that's an interesting conversation for this post, too, isn't it. If he was a young kid, I think I would have.
I'm sorry you had to cash in your comic books.
And yes, I hope my guy today felt the payoff...the joy. I sure did :-)

Craig and Heather said...

Even if there's no immediate payoff in being decent, there is a payoff. There was always joy in helping others when I could.


Craig and Heather said...

Z, I love your story :)
It reminds me of something that happened several years ago.

Not too long after our second child was born, I got a flat tire, and having changed one only once, on a different vehicle, was feeling a little nervous about whether I'd be able to remember what to do. Had to unload the laundry in order to get to the spare and jack, so it was embarrassingly obvious I had a problem. While I was trying to figure out where to position the jack, a guy pulled alongside and asked if I needed help.

Having been imagining that my efforts would result in the whole wheel falling off on the highway, his offer was more than "relief" and I probably thanked him 4 or 5 times. It only took him a few minutes and he left without really saying anything, but I'll remember his kindness til the day I die.

I like to think that the Lord directed that man to stop even though my prayer for help was un-articulated. It is interesting, too, how being helped like that can cause one to be more aware of those who need assistance.


Always On Watch said...

Before Mr. AOW had his stroke last September, we shopped for groceries together, particularly for "big shops." And, of course, he lugged in all the heavy stuff, particularly since my back injury from that car accident I had in 2005.

In all these months of lugging in the heavy stuff at home, not a single neighbor has offered to help.

I think that I'd cry from joy if someone DID offer to help with the heavy toting here at home.

I will say, however, that when Mr. AOW and I are out (He's in the transport chair), people offer to help a lot -- holding the door, assisting him in and out of the car, etc.

But why does it take a wheelchair to prompt people to assist?

Good story you posted here, Z.

Faith said...

This isn't on the same subject although I do have neighbors who help me carry in my groceries and take out the garbage too if they're around. But since helpers aren't always around, I'm glad I thought to buy a collapsible cart a few years ago that makes a HUGE difference in carrying in big loads of groceries. AND taking out garbage. AND taking loads of laundry down to the laundry room. I found it on Amazon for 30 bucks. There may be better versions but this does the job.

beamish said...

Five bucks is nuthin' today, but back then, when comic books were 50 cents...

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Time was when people would simply do that for their neighbors. Time was when people actually KNEW their neighbors. Time was when people, complete strangers, would help each other. Different generations and different times.

In general, we were a much more trusting lot then. I can remember in the 60s when, at my grandparents house, all the surrounding neighbors would watch out for me as I would push my "scooty car" up and down the sidewalk, playing. We would sit out back on a summer's night with the family AND the neighbors until dark.

They were different times. We were, I guess, perhaps, more naive, more trusting, more confident in the general goodness of our Fellow Man.

I'm glad I'm old enough to have lived through those times. Having said that, and having experienced those times, today's environment stands out that much more starkly: we don't know our neighbors, we don't trust people -- and, unfortunately, now, with good reason.

On so many levels, Z, on so many damned levels. . .

. . .where has my country gone?

I almost don't recognize her anymore.


Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Beamish: tell you what, I'm with you. I wish to hell I had my collection back of Marvel comics from the 60s and beyond. And my collection of Matchbox and Dinky cars. Holy smoke!


Elmers Brother said...

When we found out we were expecting our first child we were transferring from Georgia to San Diego, courtesy of the US Navy. The day we're leaving for our cross country trip we stop at the local restaurant for breakfast. While we were waiting to be seated we struck up a brief conversation with someone else who was waiting for a table. We asked where we were from etc...and in the process we told them we were having our first and making a cross country trip and shared our excitement.

When we went to pay it was already taken care of.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Beamish: one final word regarding how creakingly-ancient I am. I starting collection Marvel comics when they were 12-cents. Gas, when I started driving, was 25-cents a gallon. Holy smoke!


Linda said...

What a nice story, but we hear so many awful things that happen to women who are alone. I'm glad this young man was one of the 'good ones.'

I raised my boys to be helpers too, and they are!

FrogBurger said...

Nice story. We hear the bad stuff all the time but I'm sure there are more people like him.

cube said...

It's a sad commentary on our society that we are on pins and needles while listening to a story such as this when years ago we wouldn't even raise an eyebrow.

Helping neighbors is our reality, but we know these people. It's easy to help those you know. Frankly, it's kind of scary when you get into the realm of helping strangers.

Case in point: our neighbor across the street asked Mr. Cube to mow her lawn. She usually has a lawn service do it, but for some reason, she asked us. She offered to pay, but Mr. Cube declined. Not only did he mow her lawn one week, but he also did it a second week. Would he have done this for a stranger? I don't think so.

Ducky's here said...

Women in hijab with two kids dropped a grocery bag in the Whole Foods parking lot.

I helped her pick the stuff up and she didn't even call me an infidel or call the mutaween or anything.

I've noticed that the children of Muslims here are very polite and respectful. Are we missing something?

Z said...

Ducky, you must be if you think everyone here wouldn't have done the same thing. Why wouldn't you help a woman with children? And why would she attack you for helping her???

FrogBurger said...

I helped a socialist once and she said "I've noticed that the children of Conservatives here are very polite and respectful. Are we missing something?"

Leticia said...

It is kind of rare now to find neighbors helping neighbors. I am just happy that young man was there to give you a hand. It's good to know there are young people being raised right by their parents.

beamish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I have a somewhat amusing tale. I was leaving the post office one day, and in front of me, was an elderly gentleman using a walker, approaching the heavy glass doors.

I hurriedly rushed past him to open the door for him, and he said, "I was here first"!

I said "oh no no, I just want to open the door for you". I did so, and he harrumphed and went on his way. I still don't know how he would have managed that door himself.

Sometimes no good deed goes unpunished, however, I'd do it again.

Beamish, I was a comic book freak when I was a kid. My reward for not screaming my head off at the dentist's was two used comic books at a local bookstore. Two for 10 cents.

Ummm that was a long time ago. I had a collecton of Tales from the Crypt and Archie and Veronica comics, to my Mom's dismay I might add. She wanted me to be reading books.

When I got married I went to my folks' to gather up my collection, which was stored in the garage. Mr. Pris thought I should save them.

My Mom had cleaned out the garage and the comics were thrown out. I don't know if they would have been worth anything years later, but obviously that question was moot.

BZ, I'm happy to say, we, and our neighbors, willingly help each other out from time to time. It does make for a nice neighborly environment.

Also, hardly anyone is home during the week anymore. Years ago, Moms were home. When the women's movement came along, that changed everything, especially for children. IMO, not for the better.


beamish said...


I cried when I let my Incredible Hulk #180 go. First appearance of Wolverine. But it netted me $150 then.

It's woreth nearly $300 now.

beamish said...


I was at a flea market a few months ago and encountered a kindly old man selling old comic books, mostly at their original cover price.

I found a comic he could easily flip on EBay for several hundred dollars. I pulled him aside and told him, "You should take these to an appraiser. This one right here is worth a house payment."

I didn't buy the comic. Would have felt like theft.

Craig and Heather said...

Pris's account reminds me of a similar thing that happened to my husband years ago.

He opened a door once for a woman who did not appreciate it. She grumpily asked if he was doing so because she was a lady.

And his response was "No. It's because I'm a gentleman."

FrogBurger said...

I didn't buy the comic. Would have felt like theft.

Beamish you demonstrate that one can be a Conservative or Libertarian and not a greedy capitalist and we're often described by the simplistic minds of the left.

Z said...

you're a good man, beamish.

am off for the afternoon..see you all later xx

Anonymous said...

Ms. Z:

Never one to rain on your parade...Bless you for being so trusting of basic human decency. That we all wish...were a permanent human fixture.

I'm a tad more cynical and much less trusting than you Dear Lady. My glass, unfortunately, after too many years of up close and confrontational experiences, is usually half empty! And I'm a pessimist by nature.

And for sheer self preservation...I trust...NO ONE! It must have been your halo shining above for all to see. No sarcasm here Ms. Z...believe me. It can only be that ( IMHO ) you ooze peace, friendship and tranquility?

My advice...don't do it again with another anonymous samaritan. Sorry if I'm too...."cheeky".


Anonymous said...

"I didn't buy the comic. Would have felt like theft."

You're a decent man Beamish. I'm not surprised.

Heather, your husband's retort was perfect.


Z said...

Major, thanks so much...I have no halo, but you're sure sweet to say it. I have to admit I FROZE when that fellow went running up the steps right into my home..and it's a very quiet street so I could have been making a mistake but i just felt i had to trust him, after he'd moved his pickup, etc. I should be more careful but I sensed I needed to trust him. Maybe it did something FOR HIM, you know? xxx

Heather, Pris is right...excellent line..really excellent on the part of Craig!

ExPreacherMan said...


As you know I am old and decrepit -- we have a black gentleman, a "Waste Engineer" who drives one of those fancy garbage trucks that pick up and dump garbage unassisted..
One day we noticed our garbage can had been returned to the house -- and the next, etc. One day we watched and saw him jump out of his cab, grab the container and urn it back to our house.
That is a tiring trip for me and he as done it for probably a year now -- and we periodically leave him a gift of thanks, $20.00 or so, and include a Gospel tract. He always yells "Thank You.." even though we only see him and can't hear.

Today with the center of Tropical Storm Bonnie hovering over our area -- with a driving rain, there he was, soaking wet, running to put our garbage container back at our house.
He only does it for a few of us, not the Liberal next door and not the nice young family on the other side. Mostly for the old and decrepit

He is a first class American citizen and a credit to an otherwise lousy county government.

One of these days I will catch him and personally witness my Savior to him. We certainly appreciate such a wonderful man !!!

Karen Howes said...

What a beautiful story, Z, thanks for sharing.

I used to work at a grocery store, and one evening, a co-worker and I had an hour break, during the same time. We decided it would be nice to go to a great little Thai restaurant in the shopping center for dinner.

When we were finished, and went to pay our bills, we were told our meals had already been taken care of. We asked by whom, and the server pointed across the restaurant towards a nice couple who were regular customers.

We went over and thanked them for such a generous gesture. They answered, "Well, you girls are always so sweet, and we wanted to do something nice to show our appreciation."

Z said...

ExPreacher, thanks..what a MARVELOUS story and such kindness!! God's angels at work, right?

Karen, that is a fabulous story, too...another kindness that's so unexpected and so appreciated.

Thanks, both of you, for sharing these stories........all such blessings.

beamish said...

I just gawked and drooled at the comics I found in the old man's collection for sale in a flea market. It was apparent that the man did not realize the gold mine he was sitting on.

I hope the guy took my advice and found out for himself. He didn't look like he was comfortably wealthy by any means. Nobody sets up a booth at a flea market to get rich, you know?