Saturday, December 29, 2012
A few days before Christmas, I popped into a Tim Horton's to grab a coffee to go. I had spent most of the morning shopping and needed the sustenance before continuing on.
People were smiling, chatting together while waiting in line. The air was alive with anticipation of the holiday and everyone seemed to be in a good mood.
Red and green and gold draped the cashes, the displays, the windows behind which tempting doughnuts sparkled with decadent sugar.
Employees were cheerfully calling out "Happy Holidays" to one and all, their red floppy hats with white trim making them look like Santa's helpers.
The line, which had been moving briskly before suddenly slowed down. I looked towards the cash to see what the problem was. A woman seemed to be having trouble with her debit card.
"It worked at Zellers a few minutes ago!' She was starting to get embarrassed. Feet shuffled behind me. I waited a few minutes to see if the problem would resolve.
I looked away and then looked back. No change. She was still trying to get that card to work so she could pay for her order. I looked at the screen to see what she owed. $3.38. Hmmm.
Boldly I stepped forward waving 2 toonies at the cashier.
"I'll get this and have a Merry Christmas." I smiled at the flustered woman.
"Oh, thank you," said the woman, her face turning red, "that's very nice of you but they said they'd pay for it if my card doesn't work."
The cashier looked at me and nodded.
"No, no, it's o.k., it's on me." I said grandly thrusting my toonies in the cashier's face. I wanted to be the good guy. I wanted to give to a stranger in a random act of kindness (and speed things up so I could have my coffee). But nobody wanted my money.
The cashier just smiled.
The woman continued to fiddle with her card. And I started feeling like an idiot.
"Oh," I said pocketing my toonies and stepping back in line.
Just then the card worked. The lady paid her bill, thanked me again and left. The cashier smiled and asked for my order.
"Medium coffee to go."
I stepped aside to wait for my coffee. One of the servers handed me an extra-large, extra-hot coffee! Wow! No way could I drink all that, but I smiled and thanked her anyway. Perhaps that was their way of acknowledging my gesture of wanting to help.
"Would you like a free breakfast sandwich?" called out one of the servers. He was busily preparing food, but must have overheard our conversation at the cash.
What the heck? What's going on? I thought to myself. Oh well, just go with it.
"Bacon or sausage?"
"Biscuit or English muffin."
"Biscuit." Thank you very much.
I walked out of the restaurant feeling good. Somehow good karma was swirling around the coffee shop that morning and it felt wonderful.
I got into my car and pulled the door closed. After depositing the oversized coffee in the beverage holder, I carefully unwrapped the breakfast sandwich.
It was sausage on an English muffin - not what I had ordered.
Laughing, I took a few bites and started the car.
David, I think this was your idea of a joke.
David always ordered sausage on an English muffin. And in the later years of his illness, I would bring an extra-large coffee home for us to share.
Merry Christmas, Sweetie.