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Columnist Jerky Over Kind Act
The nicest thing just happened to me.
I got smacked upside the head by a random act of kindness.
OK, well, maybe not smacked upside the head. That might be a random act, but it kind of fails the kindness test. But I was just as surprised as if someone had, indeed, come up and planted a palm smartly against my cranium.
I was in Greensburg, giving a speech to the Soil and Water Conservation District annual meeting. They had run out of speakers who actually made sense, you see, so I got the job.
I was thrilled. I love Soil and Water Conservation District annual meetings.. I used to cover them when I was young reporter down in Columbus. Besides, I am in full agreement with the mission of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
No offense to the other agricultural organizations whose dinners I used to cover and would like to speak, in case they feel like calling my agent to ask about my reasonable rates for hilarious after-dinner stories. It’s just that Farm Bureaus and Cooperative Extension Services and such seem to get more of the attention while the SWCDs chug along trying to preserve and improve the very stuff that makes agriculture possible in the first place: Soil and water.
And I like Greensburg. Don’t get me wrong – Indianapolis, where I make my home now, is a great place to live. But the small cities, the towns, those are the places I know best. That’s where I learned my craft. Those places are home.
So there I was in Greensburg, giving my speech. The nice folks there offered me some dinner, but I declined. I usually decline dinner before a speech. Number one, I’m on a pretty strict diet, and sorry to say it doesn’t include noodles or mashed potatoes. Number two, a piece of spinach lodged in your incisors, or a wayward belch, can take the pizzazz out of your remarks.
So I made the speech, met some wonderful people, shook some hands and shot the breeze, and then it was time to head for home. The gas tank was getting kind of low, so I pulled into a Shell station in Greensburg to fill up.
While I was there, I went inside to pick up a couple of bags of beef jerky, which I eat in lieu of real food. I took it up to the counter and that, my friends, is where I received an act of kindness, randomly.
The guy behind the counter looked at the bags and said, “You see how much this stuff costs?” Beef jerky is expensive anytime. In convenience stores it’s ridiculous.
“Sure,” I said. “It’s okay. Ring it up.”
“All right,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure you saw it.”
That, to me, was kind. A clerk in a store has no reason to look out for my financial interests. In fact, you’d expect the opposite. But no. He was trying to be a nice guy, just in case I hadn’t noticed that the beef jerky was roughly the same price as gold.
Like I said, I couldn’t have been more surprised if he’d smacked me upside the head. The difference was I smiled all the way home, and I’m smiling now. Kindness will do that to you. Especially the random kind.
© 2010 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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