I felt myself becoming impatient with the doddering woman in front of me at the supermarket checkout. I had chosen the checkout based on it only having this woman to go through ahead of me with her small number of items. The self-service lanes were full and there was a long queue and I had one too many items for the express lane.
The cashier was efficient and friendly but the woman needed to get some cash out and seemed to have stepped directly from 1974 - a time before plastic money was available with just a swipe, wave or press of a button. E v e n t u a l l y the woman withdrew her cash and was finished. I was next.
The cashier asked me to wait one moment while she changed the receipt paper in the cash register. At this point I relaxed. If I had chosen a different egress I would probably not be any further advanced.
When the cashier came back she noticed that the woman who had withdrawn the cash had walked away without taking her purchases. A quick look around didn't reveal her, but she was slow moving and I was pretty sure she would still be somewhere nearby. I paid and said that I would let her know if I saw her on my way out.
There she was, clad in her black puffer jacket, gazing in the window at the butcher's meat display. At least, I hoped it was her as I approached.
"Excuse me," I said to gain her attention.
She looked up immediately, confused and frightened.
"I think you were ahead of me at the Woolworths checkout?"
She nodded yes.
"Well you left your shopping behind."
"Oh! I'm always doing that! Aren't you a darling for finding me!"
"I'm so pleased I did. It would be awful to arrive home without your purchases. It's at the last checkout, on the end," I added, worried that she wouldn't remember where she had been. I pointed her in the direction.
Off she doddered in the general direction of the supermarket. I was nearly going to go with her to make sure she arrived, but I didn't want to impose.
I suppose this is what is called a "good deed". It cost me nothing to help this woman and I know that a few minutes of my time saved this woman money and worry. Ironically, if I hadn't been willing her to hurry up at the check out, I may not have registered enough details to be able to find her again!
I hope a kind soul does the same for me one day when I'm doddering and absent-minded.
What was your last good deed?