Got a text this morning.
And we meet at our regular joint about half an hour later.
Then she says, “I need shallots and a romper, let’s go to Target!”
Only instead of going to Target, we go to TJ Maxx. It’s next to Target, and I know they have loads of rompers, because the girls got a couple while they were here in June.
After some successful (and not so successful) trying on, she found exactly what she was looking for. I found a new Kate Spade bag for $80 and we headed to the check out.
After a quick moment of debate, I decided I wanted a Coke. (It’s been a while since I had one, and to be quite honest, I was the teeniest bit hungover this morning.)
While Nora was checking out I ran to the cooler to grab a cold bottle of fizzy caffeinated goodness and the damnedest thing happened.
My ring got caught in the cooling fan in the top of the machine and ripped the diamond out of the setting!
THIS IS NOT A DRILL!
(I wear the wedding ring my mother wore while she was pregnant with me, and more recently, I’ve been wearing YBW’s mom’s rings. She was very specific that YBW should have them so he could give them to me. It brings us both joy that I wear them together.)
I reached into the cooler, and by sheer dumb luck the ring just happened to get caught in the fan. When I pulled my hand out, the setting was twisted and there was no diamond!
Let me tell you a little something about the state of the world. (at least where I live)
The folks in line behind us got involved, helping remove the sodas from the cooler, helping check under the racks and machine.
One lady checked out and came back to me with a shiny penny in her hand. “This is a lucky penny to help find your diamond.”
Another woman stayed with us as the store manager started trying to disassemble the machine. Yet another woman suggested we pray to St Anthony and assured me she would.
An employee who was meant to leave work at 3:30 stayed all afternoon while we tried to find it.
The assistant manager called Coca Cola to report the incident, stressing that the ‘customer was staying’ in the store until the repair person could arrive.
Nora had an appointment in Alexandria. She needed to leave by 4:00. (She’s a vet, and had a house call.) Of course we’d come together in my car, leaving her’s at the breakfast joint. So she had to take my car back to her car, drop off my key at her house before she could go euthanize some poor family’s animal!
She even arranged for her husband to come get me if YBW couldn’t.
Well, after she left, I called YBW and explained what happened. All I could think was how much I’d let him down, wrecking his mom’s ring that she, and he, wanted me to have.
Bless him, he left work and came straight to the store. He and I worked with the store manager’s tools to take apart the top of the machine and when I heard him say, “Here it is!” I nearly cried!
Here’s what I really want to say.
The actions of the employees and other customers renewed my faith in humanity. The kindness shown to me today was truly overwhelming!
I was panicked.
I was sad.
I was anxious.
Through all of that, my dear friend doggedly worked to help solve this problem. Strangers were on their hands and knees in a retail store. I received so much affection, and positive energy, and physical help from people I do not know, and will most likely never see again.
The sweet woman that didn’t leave the store until I found the diamond had tears of joy in her eyes. I said, “I’m going to hug you!” and she squeezed me tightly!
Y’all, there is real goodness in this world. There is real kindness in this world. The average human is more kind than one might imagine. Today that kindness surrounded and lifted me up. I know I’ll never be able to thank those people personally, or tell them I found the diamond. But my gratitude is out in the world and my intention is that it finds it’s way to them.
I have the phone number for the district manager so I can call and share my experience. I want someone to know what kind and helpful employees there are at that particular store.
I’m grateful for Nora. She is spectacularly calm in a crisis. She’s got a serious Rosie the Riveter ‘We Can Do It!’ spirit about her. God love her, she did not want to leave me there alone waiting for the repair person, but she had no choice. She made the situation bearable simply by being in it with me!
I’m grateful that my precious husband came and helped without being frustrated, or angry, or judgmental. He knew instinctively where I was emotionally and said, “I want to make this better for you.” I had a little ‘merp’ moment and replied, “I want to make this better for you!”
I felt like I let him down. I know it was a freak accident. He knows it was a freak accident. But I honestly felt like I let him down. Like I couldn’t be trusted with his mother’s ring. That his daddy gave her, and she wore for fifty years. And I have it for a few months and this happens!?!
I know he doesn’t think of it this way, but I sure as hell did.
For now, the rings and the diamond are in a zip baggie waiting to go to the jeweler’s.
I’ll be in Falls Church on Monday to see the acupuncturist, he’s literally right down the street from the jewelry store. I wanted to have them adjust the size a bit anyway, so now it’ll be a twofer.
Was it St Anthony?
Was it that penny really lucky?
I don’t know, but I will hold on to the penny, and say a quick ‘thank you’ to Anthony just in case.
I believe in people a little more after today.
I believe there is kindness in each of us, and if we’re very fortunate, we will be presented with an opportunity to express it.
My heart is a little lighter today.
My cup runneth over.
Today, my life was made better by the kindness of strangers.
There is a lesson here for each and every one of us.