a short story about nice people

If you’ve spent any amount of time getting to know me, you would have learned how little I trust people.  I question people’s intentions, their motivations to do nice things for me, and generally feel awful and uncomfortable when just a smidge of attention is sent my way because…well, I don’t know why exactly.  It’s just that I view the world and the people that live in it with a great deal of suspicion. In return, I expect people to treat me the same.  When they don’t, and they genuinely are nice and trusting people, I think there is something wrong with them.

Except I met two of the nicest people on the planet this evening.  Complete strangers who were willing to share what was theirs and theirs alone with me, someone they had never met and knew nothing about.  They certainly knew nothing about my broken heart  after I said goodbye to my four-legged best friend or the jagged fits of tears my daughter would give into because it was just easier to cry than to try to hold it together.. Maybe I showed my sadness on my face, maybe my shoulders were slumped over in defeat, maybe my eyes just said, “I’ve had a shit day.  Please be nice to me.”

And they were.  These two strangers were very nice to me. 

One gentleman approached me in the ticket line of the Jacksonville Suns baseball game and offered me his tickets, the extras his company had provided to him and his family.  “How many tickets do you need? Three? Here, I’ve got six! Pick the ones you want…these are good seats, too!”   I told him I didn’t have any cash to pay him and he seemed surprised. “I’m not selling them.  They’re extras. Here, you take them and enjoy the game!”

They were good seats (first level on the first base line!) and we did have a wonderful time.  The money I saved went to pay for a Jacksonville Suns t-shirt, something I’ve desperately wanted since last season.  Well, I have one now.  Thanks to that guy.

The kid and I (and my brother) got to see some fireworks tonight, something I was worried we might miss because of our upcoming out-of-town plans.  After meeting up with some friends who just happened to be at the game as well, we all spent a few final minutes at the ballpark oohing and aahing over a spectacular fireworks show.  We left happy and fulfilled, all things considered today.

On the way home, I remembered how I’d promised to bring some sparklers to Savannah so the two little ones could have some kind of Independence Day celebration of their own. I pulled into the Winn-Dixie with 5 minutes to spare before closing time and ran inside to buy a box of sparklers.  Except…they didn’t have any.  This is the second store in the neighborhood that just wasn’t selling them, for some reason. However, a nice old lady overheard me asking the cashier for sparklers and turned to me and said, “I have a whole box of sparklers in my trunk! If you’d like to follow me out to my car, I’ll be happy to let you take as many as you need.”

This kind of invitation, to follow someone to their car…their trunk!, whether it’s coming from an old lady or not, is not something I would normally accept.  I sized her up and determined she was probably harmless.  And I had seen a police cruiser in the nearly abandoned parking lot when I got out of my car.  Surely, I couldn’t have encountered two incredibly nice people in the course of 6 hours.  But I needed sparklers and I needed them badly.

I took the bait.

The old lady paid for her groceries and I walked her outside to her car.  She kept talking about her grandchildren and how excited they were for her to bring over their fireworks…seriously, you should have seen the back of her car.  The entire seat was taken up by what I can only assume was the firecracker equivalent of a grenade launcher and something that looked like a small cannon. 

This old lady was for effin’ real, yo!

After shuffling through her car’s contents for what was the only item appropriate for a child under the age of…35, or something….she ripped open a box of 25(yes, twenty-five!!!) packages of sparklers and gave me five.  She asked for nothing in return except that we have a wonderful holiday and to not stuff a box into our pants because her grandson did that last year and got too close to another cousin whose sparklers were lit and then the box in his pants caught fire and…well, I didn’t ask, but it did require her grandson take a trip to the hospital.

So I promised her that I wouldn’t light any sparklers in my pants.

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!

 

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About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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One Response to a short story about nice people

  1. Chris says:

    “Light any sparklers in my pants” sounds like a euphemism for a really hot date 😉

    I’m glad you got to enjoy the Suns game. I used to enjoy them but have never been to the Smokies games here even when the Suns visit.

    LMAO about your suspicions about Old Lady Gumb.

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