The old woman wrapped the scarf around her neck to keep out the chill as she hobbled down the street, trying hard not to fall on the cracks in the sidewalk. As much as it hurt to walk, she never missed her daily outing. She looked forward to seeing the friendly cashier at the corner market and knew that the young woman would save her the best banana.
Upon entering the store, the old woman noticed a strange face behind the counter. “Where is Maria?” she inquired. The man ignored her question and continued reading a magazine. “Excuse me, young man” she said in a louder voice. “Where is the regular cashier?”
“Lady, I don’t know what’s going on” the young man replied, sounding very aggravated.” I was called up to fill in for her. I usually work night shift. Something about a sick kid and lots of medical bills…That’s all I know.”
“Where is the owner of the store? I need to speak to him. Please go in the back and get him for me”. The old woman stood there as a few customers lined up behind her.
“Lady, I’ve got other customers” the young man whined.” What do you need? The owner is a busy man.”
“I want to talk to him. Please go get him for me!”
The cashier went in the back and got the owner. The man looked at the old woman, motioning her to come over to the side of the counter. “What is the problem? I’m trying to do some bookkeeping and I’m on a deadline.”
The old woman looked at the man and smiled. “Take a minute out of your day and talk to me. I understand your day cashier, Maria, has a sick child. I want to help. Do you have her address?”
The man replied, “I can’t give out employee’s addresses. It’s against the rules. Do you want to leave her a note? Her husband is coming by later to pick up her paycheck. I’ll give it to him. But please, let’s do this quickly…I have to get back to work.”
The old woman opened her worn purse and took out her checkbook. With a shaking hand, she slowly wrote out a check for a hundred dollars, made out to Maria Martinez. She handed it to the man.
” Please tell Maria’s husband that I am keeping the family in my prayers. I hope their child gets better soon.”
With the owner holding the check and standing there speechless, the old woman turned and hobbled out of the store.
It was only when she got home that the old woman remembered… she forgot to buy her ripe banana.