You know the Christmas Shoes song? The sappy blah blah blah buying shoes, kind stranger helps blah blah blah... (you'll find I don't particularly care for that song- heartless wench that I am).
Well today I had the opportunity to be that kind stranger. I was at WinCo and the kid in front of me had a pudding pack, squeezy drink, some Mike & Ikes and two bubble gums. Awww cute. She was with her grandma and had all the stuff spread out on the conveyor belt. It all came to about $4.24. I was only a teeny bit annoyed when she pulled out a handful of change and spread it on the counter. But I just laughed it off and let her count. I was in no big hurry. I was starving- but that's no big deal.
Her grandma was bagging her own groceries as this kid (I wanna say probably about 8 years old) was counting her nickles and dimes. She only had like, two dollars. Her grandma came back around and here I thought, "Ah, ok, grandma to the rescue." but no- she was going through and trying to help count the change. She had to put her pudding back (that was the most expensive thing) and she was pretty sad. She had to put back her Mike & Ikes and that was almost a deal breaker- she tried to negotiate the bubblegum- but that was only about ten cents.
Then I rethought it and decided not to step in at all. Here was my chance to be the kind stranger- do a service for someone, for a child and get some brownie points in heaven. But I didn't do it. And I don't feel guilty. After two sacrament meeting talks, and two lessons (one that I myself taught) about service at church yesterday, I still didn't do it. Why?
I'd like to think it's not because I'm a heartless jerk. But because I think that kid needs to learn. If she was buying medicine- or a gift for a dying family member, then maybe it would be a different story. But so many people these days need to learn the lesson that you can't always rely on people (or government) to bail you out when you exceed your limits. It's actually more of a dis-service because people stop even trying when they know someone else will clean up the mess.
I have to live within my means- it's not an easy lesson to learn- but it is a necessary one. I can't say I like it one bit. I have a lot of room on my credit card. I could very easily take that dream trip to the UK that I've been talking about for years. But I can't do it because no one will step in and pay it off for me. Sure- I have a lot of help and I have it easier than a lot of people. I'm very lucky to have someone kind enough to let me sponge for free while I try to catch up on bills- but I have learned that sometimes you just can't follow your dreams. Especially if your dreams are expensive.