The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Roll With It

It’s a long line at the grocery store on a Friday afternoon and everyone is staring into space, sighing, or frowning–even yours truly. I always get a basket rather than a cart because I want to be nimble as I navigate the aisles. However, when there are ten people ahead–and I’m in the shortest line I could find–the basket is less exciting. I’m holding it in front of me and leaning back, thinking of these two months abroad, making a mental list of things I should do before I leave. I’m watching the boy in front of me who is only here to buy one energy drink and wondering why he doesn’t give up, put the beverage down, and leave.

A woman behind me gets my attention. She has a cart with scant items, and I do my usual helpless wave and apology to communicate that I can’t speak Hungarian. Yet, I motion for her to move ahead of me. She has short-cropped wheat colored hair, big glasses, and a smile. I’d be glad to have her cut in line. This isn’t what she wants, though. She replies in gestures that I should put my heavy basket into her cart while we wait. She’s pantomiming putting the basket in and sighing with relief, she’s grinning through it all, and delighted when I take her up on her kind offer. She takes a phone call with quiet glee, she sways a bit to the Christmas music on the speakers.

I’m so glad that she was there–to help, to encourage me to cheer up, to remind me to look around and not get lost in the wait. When it is my turn at the register, I lift out the basket and say thank you in Hungarian about eight times. She nods and she thanks me as well, as she clearly loves the season of giving.

–Budapest, Hungary

7 comments on “Roll With It

  1. Joycey
    December 18, 2015

    Oh! my fave season of all! I love how everyone is so kind and happy šŸ™‚ Happy holidays to you!

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      December 20, 2015

      I agree! I love Christmas–even in the cold, even with the ice and snow, and in those long lines. šŸ˜€
      Merry Christmas!

  2. awtytravels
    December 19, 2015

    And people say Hungarians are grumpy! Nice story šŸ™‚

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      December 20, 2015

      šŸ™‚ Waiting in that line, I was a bit grumpy myself, until she stepped in and lightened my burden.
      Merry Christmas!

  3. davecenker
    December 21, 2015

    If only we could find the magic elixir to extend that season of giving to the other eleven months of the year – the world would be such a kinder place šŸ˜‰ Thanks for the reminder, Paige, to keep kindness front and center – and to remember that sometimes a cart is better than a basket, for many different reasons šŸ˜‰

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      December 28, 2015

      Dave, I have a feeling you often keep kindness at the center. šŸ™‚ I guess we’ll just have to keep doing out part to have a season of giving all year long!
      Merry Christmas, my friend–

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This entry was posted on December 18, 2015 by in Happiness, Hungary, Inspiration, kindness, Travel and tagged , .

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