Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The woman who gave me a bagel

Today I'm going to share with you something that happened to me a couple of years ago. This is just a simple story, but it has great significance in my eyes.

Before I started college, I had a variety of odd jobs, the last of which was working as a cashier in a supermarket. It wasn't easy, especially in the first few days. Hours were long, breaks were short, customers were rude – and on top of all that, at the end of my third day at work, I have found out that there's a considerable sum of money missing.

I said I'm going to cover it from my salary, of course, and the incident was settled. But I felt so humiliated! This might sound out of proportion to you, I know, but back then I was very young and insecure. I felt like a total failure. I started walking slowly towards the bus station, my eyes clouded with tears.

There were few moments in my life when I felt more helpless than at that moment, when I sat motionlessly on a bench. Buses came and went, but I just couldn't bring myself to get up.

And then the woman appeared. She had short dark hair and warm brown eyes, and looked like someone who is probably very cheerful and has a very large family. She was carrying a shopping bag and was obviously in a hurry; but when she saw me, she stopped walking.

- Excuse me, are you alright? – She asked.
- I'm fine, thank you, - I said, hoping my voice wasn't trembling too much.
- Are you sure? – She insisted, - Do you need money for a bus ticket?
Only then I realized I must have looked like a drunken beggar. My hair was a mess and my eyes were probably red and puffy.
- No, no, really, I'm fine, - I said quickly. – I have a ticket; I can go home anytime… I just… had some problems at work.
She looked at me very kindly and said:
- You look like such a wonderful person. Don't let anyone put you down.

Then she insisted I must have one of the fresh bagels she just bought. I refused at first, but she just wouldn't take no for an answer. She said I look exhausted and need to eat something. She gave me one of her bagels, said goodbye and walked away. I ate the bagel, and it wasn't simply delicious; I felt as though it was a magic bagel – with every bite, the pain and humiliation were slowly disappearing, until I felt almost normal again; I got on a bus and went home.

This happened over three years ago, but every once in a while, I remember the woman who gave me her bagel and the simple beauty of what she did never ceases to fill me with gratitude. She was in a hurry, but she didn't just pass by. And she wouldn't leave me alone when I said I don't need anything. She refused to walk away without giving me at least some comfort. Whenever I think about it, it brings tears to my eyes. I hope that someday, as I work on making myself a better person, I can develop even a bit of that woman's kindness and generosity.

18 comments:

Bethanie said...

Thanks for that one too!

AnneK said...

That was a sweet story, thanks for sharing!

Mrs.B. said...

What a sweet and touching story! (o:

Lean Not said...

What a great, edifying story. It is always good to hear stories like that, because they remind me to look for opportunities to do the same.

Anna, you can have my bagel any time! :)

Kyla said...

I loved this story. Such a good reminder of how we can show God's love to others in the simple everyday tasks like grocery shopping. Thanks for sharing!

Mrs. Brigham said...

This is a beautiful & touching story. Thank you for sharing it.

Tracy said...

Anna,
Thank you for sharing your recollection with us as a way of reminding us to show God's love to others.

Mrs. U said...

What a wonderful story!! And it's TRUE!!!!

Wouldn't it be neat if that woman was reading your blog now? :)

His,
Mrs. U

Melissa said...

Imagine if you could find her one day! What an awesome reunion! Thanks for sharing!

Anna S said...

Yes, I would absolutely love to meet her again and tell her what an awesome impact she made on my life without even knowing it.

Lydia said...

That was wonderful...there are some people in this world who don't make you look very far at all to find the Christ in them.

Emily said...

What a beautiful story! Almost sounds like you had an angelic visitation! Isn't it wonderful when people do such small, but meaningful acts of kindness.

PandaBean said...

This reminds me of "What you do unto the least of these, you do unto me." I couldn't tell you chapter and verse, or even if I quoted it correctly, but you get my drift. :)

marie said...

The kindness of strangers is a Gift that noone forgets. We expect our relatives and friends to be there for us when we are in need. But the kindness of strangers is like God giving a kiss to heal our souls.

Anna THANKYOU for your prayers for my father. He is now HOME! Only a few days ago his life was in the balance.....I dont know you, but in my HOUR of need, YOU prayed for my father and myself....thank YOU for your kindness.

God's blessings to you always:)

Marieeee

Anna S said...

Emily,

This woman was like a kind angel that touched my soul!

PandaBean,

I know exactly what you mean :)

Marie,

I'm SO happy that your father is feeling better!!!

Perennial Pioneer said...

An Angel in disguise? Sometimes God sends them down to be there, to encourage you during the most diffecult time in your life. My family and I were talking yesterday, about the battles that the angels have in heaven, to protect us,from the devils that try to harm us. In the book of Daniel, there is a chapter that talks about how Daniel prays for guidence, and how the command from heaven for an angel to answer him, and the angel was waylayed. That is so interesting. You could read it. In the Book of Daniel!
In Christ Alone!
Perennial Pioneer

Anna S said...

Laura,

Interesting, I only read the book of Daniel last week! :)

momto9 said...

What a beautiful story of kindness and love.