Mar 2, 2009

A Nickle's Worth of Karma

When I was a little boy, a very long time ago, I had a very brief experience that still surprises me when I think of the imprint it has left on me.

I was standing at the counter in a neighborhood grocery/deli and I was just about to pay for a candy bar. Back then most candy bars were 5 cents, and only a few were 10 cents. Anyway, as I was about to pay for the candy an older gentleman who was behind me in line reached over and gave the clerk a nickle and said he was paying for the candy.

He then turned to me and said: "Do you know how you can repay me? When you grow up you have to do something for somebody else." I have no idea who this person was -- I had never seen him before nor have I seen him since. But, I wish I could tell him that since that day when I do a favor for someone, or give something away, I often think of that encounter. His brilliance, intended or not, is that I have never considered the debt repaid. I have never felt that I have lived up to the promise I made with my timid "okay" in response to the gentleman's request.