Marla Jo Fisher: This story is strange but true
Seriously. This really happened. Strange-but-true.
A few days ago, I headed over to Wal-Mart early in the morning after dropping Curly Girl off at her new job, where she is now changing the oil in strangers’ cars for a big national chain.
The thought of my pretty little teenage daughter changing anyone’s oil is strange enough, considering she’s a girly-girl who holds a small funeral for the remains every time she breaks a fingernail, but that’s not even the weird part of this story, so stick around.
I don’t much like the way Wal-Mart treats its employees, but they had these patio chairs that were so ridiculously cheap that I was willing to ignore my scruples. So I got there early, before they sold out.
It was so early that no one was working the register in the back at the garden center, where the patio furniture was located, so I asked the uniformed security guard if I could just rip off the tags and take them to the front cashiers, instead of the whole chairs.
We started chatting, and I ended up confessing to her that I didn’t even know how I was going to get aforementioned chairs home with me, because I only have a tiny 2001 Toyota Corolla and they were unlikely to fit.
But I didn’t want to wait, because $14 patio chairs were not going to last, and I really needed some for my deck.
Now, here’s the weird part. Are you ready?
This young woman then asked me if I lived far away, and I told her I actually only lived about a mile from the store.
“I’ll tell you what,” she then told me. “You can borrow my truck to get them home. It’s right there.” And she pointed to a shiny pickup in perfect condition, with heavy metal band stickers on the back.
“Oh, no, I couldn’t do that,” I demurred. But, she insisted, and in a few minutes, she was helping me load my new chairs into the back of her truck, then handed me the keys and I drove away.
It was a nice four-wheel-drive, and it occurred to me I could take a trip to Vegas for the weekend, but instead I drove carefully home, dropped the chairs off in my driveway, and returned.
I’d bought her a $10 Wal-Mart gift card when I bought the chairs, thinking she could use it for gas, and I tried to give it to her when I brought back her keys.
She looked relieved, and I wondered if maybe even she’d thought it was a little crazy to give her car keys to a stranger, even one as boring and non-threatening as me.
But, then, she refused to take the gift card, and waved it away as if I were offering her a parking ticket.
“No, no, not necessary,” she said, and just smiled. “You can bring me a coffee next time you come.” I thanked her and walked away.
Afterward, I contemplated writing to her bosses to tell them what a great employee she was, but decided against it.
You never know what will happen. Big companies have rules, and she may have inadvertently broken one by lending me her truck.
I wouldn’t want to accidentally get her fired or disciplined.
But I did want to share my story, so you can know that even in a huge metro area with so many people, there are still some with a kind streak and a trusting nature.
And I feel a little more kindly and trusting myself these days, as a result.
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