The parking lot to the small convenient store was empty when I pulled in, making my decision to cheat on my diet a little bit easier. Diet soda really wasn't that bad, was it? I could go for a regular soda, but that would add, like, a billion calories of sugar to my intake for the day--rather unacceptable. So what if I had a diet soda. Zero calories are good calories, even if it was brown and syrupy and stuff.
Ding, ding. The door rang as I entered, notifying the friendly staff of my arrival. Yes, I had arrived. I arrived to retrieve fluid of deliciousness!
The store was empty, well, except for the blond that didn't even smile when I held the door open for her. She didn't count because she didn't have manners. So, as I was saying, the store was empty as I headed for the back wall toward the row of flavorful syrups waiting to be dispensed over ice cubes. The sign on the dispensing machine displayed a giant .99 cents for all size fountain drinks and frozen drinks.
I took my cup filled with cold flavor of zero calories to the cashier, a lovely man of middle-age.
"Is that all today?" he asked.
I replied: "Yes, just this." I held up my yummy soda.
He moved his hand in a slight wave. "That's okay."
I looked around, my money in one hand and soda in the other, in confusion. Was he talking to me?
"That's okay," he said again.
I didn't know what to do. "What?"
He grinned. "That's okay. Don't worry about it."
I shifted my eyes toward the older woman employee standing back away from the counter, reading a newspaper. She set the newspaper aside to smile at me.
I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. Did he just tell me that my soda was free? If so, why didn't he just tell me that my soda was free instead of beating around the bush? I took a step back from the counter. "What?" I asked again. This time I looked at the woman.
"It's okay," she said.
What's okay? I wanted to ask. I took a step closer to the exit, cautiously.
The woman said again: "It's okay. He's just being nice."
Ummm, kay. "Really? Are you sure?"
"Yes. It's okay." She waved and went back to reading her newspaper.
"Oh, thank you!" I headed for the door, turned and thanked him again. I was still in shock as I walked slowly to my car. Not knowing exactly how to react or what to do next, I sat in my car and looked into the store.
The man was giggling but looking the other way.
I felt like I needed to give him a gift back. But, really, it was only a dollar. He totally assaulted me with kindness. I was unprepared. How dare he give me a soda when I was fully planning on paying for it. I wondered what I had done to deserve such kindness. Did he recognize me as a regular patron? Or was it just a random act?
I pulled out of the parking lot, confused, but happy that I just got a free soda. Yay me!