Monday, July 27, 2009


This happened a while ago, but it crosses my mind often and I still feel joy whenever I think of it.

I stopped at the Kroger's downtown on Vine Street for a couple of items. Since that store is in the heart of Over-the-Rhine, it is generally the city's poor that frequent there.

As I was waiting in line, there was a young man of about 17 in front of me. He had a couple of gallons of milk and a large package of newborn diapers. He kept counting out his money and figuring and re-figuring how much he'd be able to purchase. (Obviously he was a new father, struggling to be able to buy what his new baby needed.) Finally, he motioned for me to go ahead of him, as he returned one of the gallons of milk back to the dairy case. He returned with the diapers and the remaining milk and stood behind me, still counting out his change. The clerk apparently knew of his situation, and looked at him impatiently and asked, "Are you ready now?"

I wasn't sure how to approach the subject, so I just blurted out to him, "Do you mind if I pay for those diapers?" Apparently thinking I was just making fun of his situation, he answered, "Yea, sure." I picked up the diapers and asked the clerk to add them to my bill. The young man almost fell over in disbelief, and exclaimed, "For real??" The clerk was just as shocked, and as she rang the diapers up kept exclaiming, "God is good!" I became aware of others behind us in line watching what was happening, and whispering to each other. (Now I was a little embarrassed over all the fuss, and wanted to be able to sneak out the door.) The clerk said she'd worked at that store for 20 years and had never seen anyone do anything like that. (Isn't that a shame?)

As I was leaving, the clerk and the young man both had huge smiles on their faces. They called out, "God Bless You"! As the door closed behind me, I assured them, "He already has."

What a small thing, yet it brought such joy! I receive my blessing over and over whenever I think of that young man.