News travels fast. I paid no attention, until as I left the store, after getting some fishing equipment, a manager tugged on my shoulder.
Wondered, why? Hadn’t taken anything I didn’t pay for. Had the receipt, actually a double receipt. I’ll explain.
The manager, couldn’t read his nametag as he blurred his name, “Sir, may I speak to you a moment?”
Didn’t think he wanted to order a novel, and I wasn’t pushed with an egg-timer-schedule, “Sure, what do you have in mind?” [Thought that sounded with a resonance that included not being miffed!]
He began, pointing to a mother and child leaving the store, the boy beaming. “I’ve never seen that before. Do you know what you did?”
Truth pushes, I had no idea what his problem was.
He continued, “The clerk said you paid for that boy’s NIKE tennis shoes, is he a friend of yours?”
Normally I can be as cynical as the next person, but set that aside, “No, I don’t know him. Never met him before and will probably never see him again. Why?”
“Well, you paid for him. Why did you do that?”
I then started my rankled posture, “Is there a law against paying it forward, no matter what race the one helped is? [The boy was black.] And, who knows? He could have been pink…I don’t care. I only pay attention to what color a person’s heart is. Including you! Maybe I just helped the next Kobe Bryant.”
He looked puzzled, I didn’t explain.
More, “I happened to be next to the boy, he pulled some cash out of his pocket to buy new tennis shoes and it hit me, why not? Why not say something to the cashier, which I did, asking him to let me pay for the shoes. Honestly? Not that big of a frickin’ deal. He’s a young boy and as I told the cashier, there’s not enough kindness in this world. I simply wanted to do it.”
As I got to my car, I heard a honk.
The boy was sitting in the backseat, his father was driving. As his father wiped tears from his face, “Mister, you have been an exception. Thank you for what you did for my son.”
The boy clapped his hands, yelled, “THANKS!” I clapped back and went on with life. GO, KOBE!