My favorite part when going to the supermarket is that while mom stands in line to check out, I go ahead and wait for her past the checkout. I feel safe there because I can still see mom and she sees me, she can’t really go anywhere until she paid for the items in the cart, and because it’s a reasonably small supermarket, not one of the big chains.
But the best part is that beyond the checkout, there is a kiddie ride. It seems to be older, it’s not particularly pretty, I have no idea why the cow is pink, and some of the paint around the cow’s mouth has chipped off. Most parents dread it and try to pull their kids past it, while the kids pester them for a ride.
But like me, the kids gravitate towards the machine. For a quarter it will play a little happy tune and make a riding motion.
Today a little girl of about five or six years had, like me, gone ahead of the checkout while her mom paid for the groceries they had bought. I had already seen her ask her mom for a ride, pointing at the machine, and frown and pout when the mother had told her no. But even knowing there would be no ride for her today, she came over, ran her hand over the head of the cow and climbed into the saddle to make believe that she was riding it.
I love situations like this one, where there are not many people around, I feel safe and there’s a good opportunity. So I pulled a quarter from my pocket, went to the machine and pretended to be picking the coin up from the ground.
“Did you lose that?”
The girl looked at me wide-eyed, then looked at her mom, who was about to come over. She seemed tempted to say it was her coin, but in the end she shyly shook her head. I shrugged and smiled.
“I guess then it’s just your lucky day.”
The girl gave me a big smile, took the coin and ran to her mom to let her know she had found a quarter for the ride. The mom sighed, I don’t know why, maybe at being held up, but then she smiled and the little girl was happy and had a ride. I was happy too.
I always save quarters so I can give a kid a ride if I get the chance while mom checks out. I love doing that. I love watching the kids be happy because of the unexpected ride. I love to be able to make a child feel lucky and happy for a moment. It makes me feel lucky and happy, too.
I discovered that it’s a bad idea to just offer the coin, though. Many parents hurry over and say “thank you, but that’s not necessary” or something and then I’m too shy to insist. But if I just happen to “find” a coin and give it to the kid, everyone thinks it’s their lucky day and the kids get to have a ride.
People sure are funny, but that’s okay for me. I’m terrific at finding lucky quarters right next to the kiddie ride. 🙂
How about you? Have you ever done anything to make a random person happy and enjoyed it?