I asked the counter person at Arby’s today if they had senior soda. They did. So I got a small soda with my great Jr. Buffalo Chicken sandwich for a total of $1.07. As I sat eating my sandwich, feeling fortunate that I am a “senior” I reflected on 20-30 years ago, when my sister and her husband hit hard times.
It was winter in Texas, and not a lot of yard work to do, which was how they lived from week to week. They were also dumpster diving resellers. They would fix the broken, polish the dirty, and resell their “free” treasures. It was hard enough just to keep warm, much less keeping something in the pantry.
One afternoon, they went into a café, and ordered hot water. Then they mixed the hot water with ketchup, and ate the crackers on the table. Back then, crackers were on the table with the salt, pepper, and sugar, ketchup and mustard. When they finished, the waitress gave them the bill for 16¢, what the waitress decided was fair for the 16 packs of crackers they ate. They couldn’t even pay that.
So the waitress called the police to have them thrown in jail for vagrancy. When the officer heard the story, he looked at the waitress in disbelief. He reached into his pocket, plopped a quarter down telling the waitress to keep the change.
I miss my sister. She had a very hard life, and died of cancer two years ago. My head holds back the tears in my heart thinking of this story. Human kindness of that police officer kept the two out of jail…but what about the waitress? Did the event have any lasting effect on her? I hope so. I have forgiven her, someone has to.