Today, I was out and about doing some errands. I stopped to get some Nyger seed for our upside-down Goldfinch feeder. Feeling thirsty, I then drove down the road to a mini mart and went inside to get a Diet Pepsi. Being a gorgeous weekend spring day, the store was busy. And as I fixed my soda and subsequently stood in line to pay, I did some people watching.
My first observation was of a young girl... she was probably about 15 or 16. She was dressed to play soccer, and as there is a large community soccer field nearby, this didn't seem unusual. She was with her family, and her Father was paying for her Soda and candy. They struck me as quite "well to do". The rest of the family was dressed very nicely... and they appeared to be financially comfortable and to "want for nothing". The girl's parents seemed to dote on their children. The girl's Father gently asked her if she'd like a banana and she snapped "no!" He then asked her if she wanted anything to eat, and she became angry and told him harshly that she was not hungry. This was accompanied with the eye-rolls and shoulder shrugs typical of an angry teenager. As the girl stomped out of the store, the father seemed a bit bewildered, and shook his head as he went to get something to drink. The girl impatiently entered the entered the store to find out what was "taking everyone so long", her frustrated sighs audible.
This took place in a period of less than a minute. I noticed that the cashier had also witnessed all of this, and she looked as embarrassed and appalled as I must have looked. It was then that I made my second observation.
As I was preparing to pay for my soda, a young boy came up to the counter. He had a five dollar bill in his hand. He spoke very softly as he handed the money to the cashier. He had found the money on the pavement outside the store. She didn't hear him so he repeated "I found this on the ground outside". He was shy and polite. He too was with his family. This family did not appear to be as affluent as the first family. Again the Cashier was confused and surprised. She took the money reluctantly, as if she couldn't understand why the boy had not kept it.
I grinned and said something about him being a good samaritan. He nodded shyly and hurried back to his Grandparent's car. It was as if he didn't want any attention or praise for doing a good deed.
As I walked to my car I was was reflecting over both incidents. On one hand, there was a young girl, who was clearly pampered and doted on... she wanted for and appreciated nothing. She behaved poorly... typical of what you might refer to as a spoiled brat. I wondered if she would even "miss" a five dollar bill. My guess is probably not. On the other hand, there is a young man... from a seemingly poor family. But he was polite and honest. He found some money, money that he could possibly use Yet as it wasn't his, he did the honorable thing and turned it in.
I drove off feeling rather sad- sad that there is such a rude and angry young girl who doesn't appreciate how good she has it. I also felt sad that anyone would be surprised that someone would turn in money, when they clearly needed it. Yet I also felt inspired and blessed to have witnessed all of this. For despite the world's problems... there is still so much good. And that is worth everything. In this time of so much negativity... finding something positive is like finding treasure!