A Lesson For All At The Bread Store

If you noticed something a bit different about my postings last week you are very perceptive. I wrote them all well ahead of publishing to accommodate my travel schedule. Normally the Sunday article would feature the biggest political event of the prior week. I was also tempted to do a “catch up” article. There was certainly plenty of material. Those were the choices I was contemplating as of Friday afternoon when I got a call from my wife. Then it all changed. Let’s explore.

While my topic is almost always American politics, the message generally is conveying of the progressive philosophy. Politics almost becomes the vehicle for proselytization of the philosophy; a significant part of which is helping those less fortunate. (Some of that is selfish because we are all just a bad break or two from joining them.)

At any rate, my wife called me from the parking lot of a bread outlet store as she tried to collect her emotions. Moments earlier she was shopping in the store when a young boy politely approached her to inquire how much a loaf of bread he had in his hand cost. She checked the shelf and replied, “99 cents”.  He then went to the register and rummaged through his pockets unable to come up with the price. He left the bread on the counter and went out to the car to ask his family for more money. The front of this store is almost all windows so my wife could see what was going on. The car was old and somewhat the worse for wear. The family was searching for coins. At that point my wife asked the clerk if she could pay for the bread after which she took it out to the car. Making a long story short the family was extremely grateful.

When she returned to the store to complete her own purchase the store clerk and at least one other customer thanked her for her small and simple act of kindness. Wanting no credit all she had to say was that we are all in this together and have a moral obligation to help each other. Hopefully that was a lesson to the other customers.

My wife and I are far from wealthy. The store is only a few miles from our neighborhood. It is not in some third world country or an inner city slum area. It is on the north end of Raleigh, North Carolina. It is within walking distance of a large thriving shopping mall and several luxury automobile dealerships.

There will always be those less fortunate among us. Hopefully the rough time this family is obviously going through is temporary. In a country as wealthy as America the fact that inexpensive bread is a luxury to a young boy (certainly under ten) is an unnecessary shame. None of us have the financial wherewithal to save everyone – that certainly includes my wife and me – but almost all of us have the capacity to perform a simple act of human decency on the rare occasions the opportunity presents itself.

I am not a religious person. Neither my wife nor I are churchgoers. We do good things for our fellow man (albeit limited by our financial capabilities) based on the belief that it is the morally correct thing to do. That may be in part due to an upbringing that included the Christian philosophy of helping the least among us. While not our motivation, we believe in the Hindu and Buddhist principle of karma. That simple act of human decency has and will come back to us hundreds of times over in ways we will never immediately recognize.

I’m really glad my wife went to the bread store Friday afternoon and it has nothing to do with the loaves she brought home.

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