Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” – Luke 12:43-44

There have been some recent events that got The Region Business community chattering. Watercoolering.

On more than one occasion I’ve been asked about the situation because of my resourceful insight. So before the events flare up for its upcoming round of speculation, I will give me take on the events:

Last night I went and bought groceries at the local store. Bagels, apples, nothing spectacular.

It was 11:00pm on a Sunday night and the checkout girl Walmart-greeted as I walked in. I thought I was coming in late and she was feigning her happiness. But she was sincere. Smiling, humble, gracious.

Fearing the wrath of the employees – for I’ve been on that side of the time clock – I scrambled to get to the essentials before hustling back so they could get home sometime tonight too.

But as I got slid into her line, she greeted me as soft and penitent as when I first arrived. As did the gentlemen in front of me, looking worn from his fast food gig as he happily scrambled up the change to buy his bag of pretzels.

During the transaction, the gentlemen was raving about a contest in which he just won a car.

“The others, they wanted the Caddys. But I didn’t, you know? I don’t want to pay for those repairs…my uncle has a Caddy…I’m glad I got the Buick.” – was the gist of message.

I said, “No, I hear ya’,” I said as I took my receipt and started bagging my groceries.

The whole time I kept thinking that something was different about this conversation. This wasn’t an ordinary lottery. But before I could sharpen my thought, the gentlemen bagged his bag, apologized for being in the way, and took off before I could chuckle at his absurd politeness.

Then I turned back to the lady.

The checkout girl spoke with almost a sheepish cadence as if she was afraid of getting into trouble. I wanted to apologize.

“I’m sorry for that.”

I finally got my chuckling out when I said there was nothing to be sorry for.

Then it all made sense.

She said, “We used to live together at the (name omitted on purpose) shelter. He just won one of the cars at the donation auction there. Now he can drive to work.”

(I think I get that quote close to correct.)

She went to apologize and I said, “It’s a great story.”

I should have said, “That’s the most beautiful story I’ve heard in a long, long time.”

I would have used more detail but it wasn’t my story to tell. I feel guilty for telling as much of it as I did and I hope their success story continues and they get to tell it in great detail to a great many people many, many times because it’s such the story worth telling.

Being a child whose mother benefited from President Carter’s vision of welfare, I can’t not be touch by that. I can’t not defend that.

These are the stories we need to watercooler about.

These stories of people getting back up, battered and bruised. And getting their hands back into the dirt. And of the many great charities and churches doing good works to help these people who should never have had to suffer.

These are the people I want to rave about, talk about at length, and support and defend with unrelenting passion and vigor if they fall under the mercy of the positioning of lesser people.

These are the people worth commenting about. These are the stories that should be getting the pages of column inches

instead of the petty puff pieces that pander and placate to the public’s prayers to parade vicariously through pirates.

“Second star on the right, and straight on till morning.” – J. M. Barrie

With the thousands of people in The Region alone still suffering the ripples of corporate indulgence, that last thing I want is to be reminded of it, again. Or to give it anymore press.

There are too many other pilgrimages to promote.

Who’s with me?

(the sad truth is that if this story gets any traction, it won’t be because of the good souls I met at the grocery story last night)

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