2 Simple Quarters

Posted by james on July 14, 2002

The other day I was walking in Newport with a friend, around sunset. Across a street corner, I could see a woman with a walking stroller trying to get a paper from a vending machine. As we approached the corner I could see that she was taking longer than usual to get her paper. When we were close enough, I could overhear her talking to her baby. She looked like she was giving up, then she sighed and said she would have to come back later. She mentioned something about finding out when the yard sales were in the paper for tomorrow. Something struck me, and I offered her some quarters. She was glad, said all she had were canadian quarters. We made a trade, and she tried to figure out how much she still owed me since the canadian quarters were worth less. I laughed and shrugged it off, and we continued on our way. She hollered thanks at me as we walked down the street.

There are certain things that make me feel like a little kid. They make me feel vulnerable, when a simple thing has made me sad, if only for a moment. I imagined being in the midst of a hectic day, trying to get what little I can done since there's no way I'll get it all done by myself. And in the middle of this, while I'm out relaxing for the small amount of time I have, I'm not even able to buy a simple paper and I know I'll have to make another trip back as soon as I get home. And I imagined how in that single moment I'd feel sad and disheartened, like a kid with a fallen ice cream cone. It's such a small thing, it doesn't even make sense.

I don't know if that woman was having a hectic day, or if she felt that way about not being able to get a newspaper. But I'm glad I could do such a simple thing to help her out. I hope someone can do that kind of thing for me someday, when I look with downcast eyes at something that has, just for a moment, broken my spirit. And I hope someone would help my mom out if she needed some quarters.