I missed my regularly scheduled farmer's market excursion last Thursday due to my husband's hometime (truck driver wife life) and things were starting to look a little desperate in the fridge. I was down to two lemons, an egg and some wilty scallions. Something could have been done with it, but I didn't want to be the one to do it.
I usually try (emphasis: TRY) to get there as soon as they open. There is a window of about 8 minutes between opening and looking like the streets of NYC at quitting time. Early in the morning, people are social and nice. Generally enjoying their peaceful stroll through the market. Fast foward a few hours and things get ruthless. It's dog eat dog and since I'm a puppy lover at heart, I don't have the taste for it. So that brings me to the point where baby and I finally arrive three hours after opening, at peak lunch hour.
I spend about ten minutes strolling around the cheese section trying to decide if it is worth it to go pee then, or if I can just wait until I get home. Then I go the the meat counter. At 9am - peaceful. At 12? Like closing bell on wall street. But with moms, and hipsters with rolled cutoff jean shorts and manbuns, and little old ladies that come up to my elbow but would just as soon shank you with their umbrella as look at you. Tough stuff, people. Then I make my way through fruits and vegetables, dodging banana peels and Brazilian walking spiders....not really, but it was the same level of harrowing. Finally, and I mean FINALLY, I get to the checkout line. It is six people, a tour group and a leprechaun deep. When it is my turn, and my groceries are half bagged....I start to get this really sinking, ugly feeling. That feeling like you forgot a final exam, or misplaced your jury summons, or locked your keys in your car....THAT feeling. Today it was the "I may or may not have left my debit card in my other jeans" feeling. My other jeans, in the laundry basket in my house...45 MINUTES AWAY. For those unfamiliar with our farmer's market....no credit cards. I pulled out an ancient, dusty card that I think at one time was linked to a savings account, hoping for a miracle.
In the midst of approximately 347 people, my card got declined. That wasn't the end of it. The cashier had to call over a manager to void my ENTIRE BASKET OF GROCERIES and I did the walk of shame out the door.
Small tears. A mist really, but I cried.
I snuffled and kicked rocks all the way out to my car, and just as I was buckling my poor, disgraced child into his carseat, a lady walks up to me and asks if I had forgotten my debit card.
YES. Did you bring pink himalayan sea salt for my wounds? I was feeling salty.
But no, what she did do, however, was offer to pay for my groceries. She abandoned her own cart to chase me down to the back of the parking lot to offer to pay for my groceries. She waited while the cashier rang every single item back up to pay for my groceries. If ever there was a day and a time that I needed a Good Samaritan, that was it. And one found me. Call it Karma, call it good vibes, call it guardian angels....whatever it was I can't say thank you enough.
And get this...
She was wearing a baby carrier too. It's like we have a club. Eye contact and smile, secret handshake, clubhouse password knock....we've got it.