Saturday, March 19, 2005

How did I screw that one up?

A few weeks ago I was riding home from work on one of the worst days to be out riding. There was snow and ice on the ground, a steady drizzle in the air, and temps hovering just around freezing. I had just picked myself up from wiping out on a frozen section of a wooden bridge when I noticed that my gloved hands were soaked through from the snow pile I dove into. I rode on for a while and realized that my wet hands were starting to freeze and I had no extra gloves. With only 2 miles left to go the pain in my hands became unbearable. I stopped at a donut shop to warm up with some coffee. All was well until I realized that I couldn't move my fingers enough to open my bag and pull out my wallet to pay. The lady behind the counter, who spoke almost no English, realized my predicament and motioned to me that I didn't have to pay. This was good because I realized that I had no money anyways. She even threw in a couple of free donuts. I guess I must have looked pathetic in my wet and muddy bike clothes fumbling around with my bag and dripping all over the floor. I gratefully took the food and vowed to come back and repay her. I sat down at a table with that warm and fuzzy feeling, hopeful that there is still some sort of kindness to be found among strangers. I wondered when I would get a chance to return the favor.

A few days later I got my chance all right. There was a trailwork day at Wakefield and I usually bring donuts for all of the volunteers. This time, instead of going to my usual donut store, I would give the kind lady a visit and repay her. I see her at the counter and order three dozen donuts. As I'm paying, I ask her if she remembers me and how she gave me free donuts and coffee once, and that I'd like to repay her for the food. It soon became obvious that she didn't recognize me. Nevertheless, I told her to charge me for the two donuts and coffee which I got for free the other night. But since her English was limited, (or maybe it was my thick Filipino accent) she thought that I was asking for free donuts. She even started to get a bit irritated at me. She thought I wanted two free donuts and she insisted that she would only give me one. The more I tried to explain, the worse it got. Finally, she turned her back to me and walked away. I left the store, numb and dumbfounded at what just happened. That's the last time I ever try to return kindess to anyone....


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