"Excuse me," she said, "but I just have to tell somebody what just happened."
The lady then proceeded to tell us that a few minutes ago she and her husband were standing at the counter and had just ordered their lunch when her husband realized he'd forgotten his wallet, nor had the lady brought her purse. But then a woman standing next to her stepped over and said not to worry, she'd take care of their bill.
The lady was taken aback by the stranger's offer, which she and her husband declined. She was now waiting for her husband, who'd gone back home to get his wallet.
"Now what do you think of that? " the lady asked us, "isn't it awfully strange that that woman wanted to pay for our lunch?"
I said, "Oh, I don't think it's all that strange." I nodded towards my friend sitting next to me. "She'd do the same thing for somebody." I gestured towards the other Posse members. "So would any of these ladies. So would I. I think it's pretty normal that somebody would step up help you out of a bind like that." I told her that people liked helping other people.
"But I didn't like it!" the woman replied.
I started proselytizing about how we should always do for others and let others do for us, but then it hit me that I knew what the lady meant. In fact I had to admit to myself that, in truth, though under the same circumstances I'd have gladly paid for someone else's lunch, I'd have felt mortified if I'd been the one who couldn't pay for my lunch.
Which got me thinking: people aren't really all that into getting the things we need or want for free.
Oh, we like occasionally winning things, finding things, being gifted with things, being rewarded with things, collecting and accepting things we feel we're entitled to. And then there are outliers who like stealing things, scamming or manipulating others out of their things, grabbing whatever things they can get their hands on. There are some people who have no qualms about how they get their things.
But again, those are the outliers.
I believe we human beings, for the most part, like acquiring our own things on our own terms with money that we've earned ourselves. I believe that for most of us it really is better, psychologically, to give than to receive. Perhaps in a perfect world we all would be financially sufficient unto ourselves all the time.
Or perhaps not even that would make for a perfect world.