OCCURENCE AT THE DOLLAR TREE
Our shopping ran a fairly ordinary course, the girls picking out their items,
"Here. Grammie, I'll pay for yours," said my older grand daughter, reaching for my Combos and adding them to her items.
After my younger grand daughter paid for her items the check-out clerk, a young man with shoulder-length hair and a beard, asked her if she needed a bag.
"No thank you, I have my own," said my grand daughter, holding up the reusable bag I'd given her to use.
"Yeah, reusable bags are good," said the young clerk.
When my other grand daughter answered similarly after making her purchases and held up her reusable bag, the friendly clerk complimented her, as well, on her environmental do-gooding, for which my grand daughter thanked him.
My grand daughters happened to spot on the wall across from the check-out lane a line of those machines filled with trinkets that will (theoretically) be discharged in exchange for a quarter and which my grand daughters wished to engage. They and I began roaming through our purses for a couple of quarters.
"Hey, you need quarters?" called a voice behind us. I turned to see the person behind us in line, a youngster who appeared to be in her twenties with a skater dudette look: a dozen or so piercings around her ears, nose, and eyebrows, short hair sticking out of a backwards-turned baseball cap, black tee shirt, loose black board pants, black Converse sneakers. She was digging in her pocket. "I got some quarters for you," she said.
"Oh, you're so kind," said I, "but that's all right. I think we have a few."
"I saw how you paid for your grandma's things," said the skater girl to my grand daughter. "That was really nice. Here's some quarters," she said, proffering us the coins.
"Sorry guys," said the clerk. "All the machines don't work. See?" He pointed out to us the hand-printed sign on the wall above the machines. "Sorry about that."
We assured the clerk that it was okay and thanked him for pointing out the sign, and I thanked the skater girl again for her generous offer of the quarters.
As my grand daughters and I were leaving the store my younger one was struggling to open the door. Up behind us came the skater girl and opened it for us.
"Thank you so much," I said to her, and to my grand daughters I said, "See how polite this kind lady is? This is a good example for you of the kind of adult that children should grow up to be." My verbiage was mayhaps a bit clunky and I realized afterwards that in this case I probably should have said "person" instead of "lady," but the skater chuckled and my grand daughters chuckled and everybody was all good-natured about it.
Then the girl got into her car and I got into my car and we drove our separate ways while the clerk continued checking out.
Now, in truth there was nothing extraordinary about this brief interaction among five people at the Redondo Beach Dollar Tree. But it was nice. It was just five people, half of them strangers, being nice to each other, and, in small, little ways looking out for each other and briefly putting just a little bit of gemütlichkeit* in the world.
But sometimes little things mean a lot.