Self Improvement Non-Fiction posted June 14, 2008

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some people make us feel better about life

A Momentous Encounter

by Eternal Muse

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It happened yesterday in Albertsons supermarket in Vegas, my new hometown.   After work I went to the post office that was open late, located inside Albertsons, to send a package to a friend.  After standing in line for half an hour, I finally sent out my package, purchased two books of Frank Sinatra stamps, and headed for the supermarket. 

I almost ran out of food.  And here they were, these sizzling aisles, bursting with meat, fish, kielbasa, fruit, milk and so much more.  A live testimony to America's land of plenty!  After filling up the basket I started walking to the check-out register, when my eyes fell on Sierra Nevada Summerfest Beer. The label said: "Crispy summer blend". I took the package and was about to put it in my basket, when I saw another Sierra Nevada product, which read "Pale Ale". After a minute of hesitation, Pale Ale joined his comrades in my basket.

I was at the checkout counter, watching the clerk busily click the register buttons.  I saw a girl standing in line next to me with Sierra Nevada Summerfest Beer package in her hands, the same beer that I almost took but changed my mind. She seemed in her late twenties, with warm brown eyes and shoulder length hair. The girl was wearing a lace-edged T-shirt and jeans. She exuded the Southern warmth that many New Yorkers should acquire.  (I am originally from New York and find the warmth of Nevadians very refreshing).

I asked her: "What do you think of this beer? Do you like it?"

She said: "I hope it's good - I never tried it."

I went: "You know, I almost purchased this beer, but then saw Sierra Nevada ale and got that instead."

The register man asked me: "Have you ever tried pale ale?"

"No" I said.

"You know, it's very bitter."

I said: "On second thought, I think I am going to exchange my ale for the beer. Let me go get the package."

And then, to my surprise, the young lady with the beer said, "I'll go and get it for you."

Before I even had time to say thanks, she disappeared, getting the beer for me, a total stranger!  What a sweet girl!

My eyes almost filled with tears. That someone would go to the other end of a supermarket, to get a package of beer for another, and a person she had never met to boot, was above and beyond anything I've ever encountered.

I felt gratitude to the world in general, for letting me live in it.  All of a sudden, my worries faded away, the world seemed a better place, and my heart filled with warmth.

The girl reappeared with the beer in her hands, and passed the package to me.

"Thank you so much!!" I said. "I can't even tell you how extremely grateful I feel.  You did it for me..."

Tears welled up my eyes, the Southern lady said her gracious thanks and added:

"You should try the Summer honey beer. It's very good."

I went home a different person.   The world seemed a brighter, better place. There is so much selfishness in the world, and to see a genuine act of altruism like that  was a challenge.  I realized that our perception of the world largely depends on the people that populate it.   True goodness like that is inspiring.  I encountered a lot of tragedy in the past year with the loss of my both parents; living in the darkness for so long, I reveled in this ray of sunshine on my path.  

Life was worth living after all!

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