There are those times that an observation brings a smile to my face. Generally these involve some mishap or fail that provides a chuckle at another’s expense (I’m not proud.. but often they deserve it). Every now and then one of these is a result of someone doing something nice for their fellow man. Over the last few weeks I have encountered three such situations giving hope to the fact our society is not completely doomed (well, beyond the threat of becoming a socialist country).
The first of these episodes came at a boutique ice cream shop in Peoria Heights (can’t remember the exact name, but something like Emocks and Bollas but that is a complete guess at the moment). Linda and I were waiting for two me-centric high school girls to complete their order. One of the girls had already received her single dip cone and was busy chatting about how much her friends like her fashion statements when gravity reared its ugly head resulting in the scoop of ice cream leaping off the cone to the floor. I thought she would just leave it there, but she did clean up her mess. Although there was some poetic justice there, what brought the real smile to my face was the owner saw this event and asked for her cone back so he could replace the lost scoop. So not only does this place have excellent ice cream, the management is truly attentive to their customers.
A few days later Linda and I were winding down from a long work week at the Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria. It was unusually packed likely due to a local MMA event they were hosting at their hotel. To my surprise, the casino had also purchased the rights to the UFC Fight Night event and were broadcasting it on all their TVs. This was a huge bonus for me since I really wanted to watch the Tito-Griffin rematch. I had taken a seat at a video poker machine with a good view of the TV. At some point, three men came up and took up roots in the aisle way and proceeded to carry on a 40 minute conversation about their recent divorces and get rich quick in real estate plans. One was even bragging how he tapped his own phone to catch his wife and for some reason learned how to make a taser gun. That caught my attention and I was eagerly awaiting this explanation. The reason never arrived because midway through this discussion an older lady came rolling up in a wheelchair. Rolling is probably a little more generous of a word for she was truly struggling to pull herself forward with one leg and trying to navigate the people in the aisle – of which the threesome I was mentioning was posing a significant obstacle. One of the three noticed her and alerted the other three to make way while commenting to her how well she was navigating. She took a differing opinion to this comment and responded on how bad she thought she was doing. As a complete surprise to me, the guy proceeds to ask her where she was going and upon hearing the response said “Well, let’s go there, I’ll push you over there”. He really didn’t give her a chance to respond and proceeded to get her to the desired destination. I decided that the issue just might have been with his ex… but that taser thing still intrigued me.
And lastly, I had to run to WalMart on Allen Road today to pick up a peeler and baster for my wife. She is having her family over for some juicy bird tomorrow and accidentally broke her old one. Ever since they reset this store we have been unable to find anything we need without traversing through most of the aisles. Yes, I realize this is the intent having spent my youth employment at Jewel where we reset the store every 6 months in order to maximize product visibility. As a consumer, this process absolutely blows. Well, associating the peeler with food I managed to walk up and down every single food aisle without success. Swallowing my male pride I asked a worker if she could possibly point me in the right direction. Expecting to get a row number and continue the quest, she startled me with “Let me just put this back and I’ll take you to them”. At which point, she proceeds to walk me all the way to the other end of the store (away from the food). On the walk she asked me if I was finding everything else I needed. I figured the baster was with the peeler so the response was a definitive YES – some of my ego regained. About 3/4ths of the way there, I noticed the Kitchenware signed and indicated I could make it the rest of the way. Having none of that, she told me under no uncertain terms she was committed to getting me to the peelers. And directly to the peelers we went and you guessed it, I thanked her with a smile.
Based on these events, it seems that I am now -3 on the pay it forward scale. I better be checking the corners for old ladies needing to cross the street.