Short Change

Cassi - Eagle, Idaho
Entered on April 1, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

As the bell sung throughout the halls and classrooms, everyone including myself raced toward the cafeteria. I weaved through the crowd to secure my place in line. When I almost reached the front of the line, there was a hold up. The boy in front of me searched his pockets for any spare change. He was a dollar short, and out of money. I tapped my foot as his lunch was taken. Rolling my eyes I payed for my lunch, stuffed the three left over dollars into my pocket, and sped to Mr. Seifert’s Classroom to eat.

At quiznos, where I work, I had the boy in mind. How stupid do you have to be to forget lunch money?Entranced, I failed to see the two girls lingering before me across the glass. One was tall and slender, maybe nine or ten. The other was maybe four feet if she stood on her toes. They were alone, and neither had clothes that fit them correctly. I slid my hands into the latex gloves that always infect my hand with rash. I peered past the glass and chimed, “For here or to go?” The taller one shook as she asked how many sandwiches they could buy with five dollars. I explained to them that the prices were clearly on the menu. The one right in front of their face.

A small line had formed behind them. After deciding they would get one sandwich to split, the tall one ordered a small turkey on white. Silent, I constructed the sandwich and stuffed it in the oven.

I apologized to the man in line behind them, offering a minute explanation. He was tall with dark skin and muscle upon muscle rippling down his arms. Words jolted from his mouth. I almost didn’t understand what he said. After waiting a few second, I asked the man if he had really just offered to pay for a second sandwich for them. He had. He ordered to repeat their first sandwich and charge it to his bill.

I rung up the girls for their sandwich and informed them that there was another on its way. The tall girl squinted while the short one sped over to the man and embraced his waist. She held her position for at least two minutes.

How is it that I total stranger can help two girls and I can’t even share one dollar? It as in a matter of less than ten minutes that I learned to believe in the power of giving. You can never underestimate how powerful something as simple as offering to buy a sandwich can be.