Saturday, January 05, 2008

Aldi Encounter

A week or so ago I ran into Aldi's one night to pick up a few things. As I got near the cash register, there was a line. I started to people watch, which is always an interesting thing.

There was a girl (probably in her 20's) in front of me with a small box filled to the top with items. She was having trouble managing it and several things were falling out onto the floor. She put the box on the floor and was rummaging through it looking for something. The lady in front of her asked if she wanted a bigger box, but the girl said no that she was looking for something. She frantically searched the box. The lady in front of her asked what she was looking for and she said "a piece of paper". The lady noticed a piece of paper a little ways away and handed it to the girl. The girl was very grateful and must have thanked the lady 10 times. She told her that she had recently lost her job and her dad had given her an Aldi gift certificate to get groceries with.

Immediately I felt sympathy for her. You could just tell she was frazzled. As she paid for her groceries, I kept feeling a nudging to help her out. Her total was above what her gift certificate covered and she wasn't sure she had enough. She was rummaging in her purse. At that point, I would have paid the difference rather than let her put things back, but she found enough and paid.

I put my groceries on the belt. My few things had turned into half a cart full. I still felt this nudging to help her. I felt that I was to give her $20. As I was standing in line, I thought about offering it to her, but I didn't want to make a scene. How do you just offer a stranger money without making a scene. I was afraid she would refuse, or be embarrassed.

She took her small box of groceries over the packing shelf to rearrange them. I kept feeling the urge to give her $20 (OK God, I hear you. But what if I don't have enough for my groceries?). I usually figure out my groceries exactly at Aldi's since you have to have cash. Today I didn't worry about it so much because I had $70 and figured I was safe.

In my mind I was thinking that if I don't get the money to her soon, she will be gone and I will have missed my opportunity, but at the same time, I really needed to find out if I had enough to pay for my own groceries. The cashier rung up my groceries and I don't know why I was surprised that the total came to $49 and some odd cents. That left me with a $20 bill and I knew who it was supposed to go to.

The lady and I ended up walking out at the same time and once we were in the parking lot, I called to her. I mentioned that I had heard her talking in line and that I felt God wanted me to give her that $20. She was so grateful. She told me she had two kids. We hugged (how crazy is that) and I told her I would pray for her. I walked back to my van with tears streaming down my face. The whole encounter lasted maybe 30 seconds, but it made me think for a long time after that.

I think all too often I ignore those little God nudges. I worry that I won't have enough money, or someone will think I'm crazy, or any other number of excuses. God has blessed me so much. I want to show others His love. I want to be a physical earthly extension of Him. This world is so in need of seeing Him.

I tell this story not to make me look good. I have been hearing a song lately that states exactly how I feel. It's Michael English singing "The only thing that's good in me is Jesus". I just want to encourage you to listen to that still small voice and then follow it. You will be blessed and bless others in the process.


Crystal said...

That's an awesome story. I totally agree that we need to listen to God more, because He certainly does speak to us alot. When we hear him speak to us, we don't need to worry about how or what if or anything like that because if we are listening to what He wants us to do, He will work it all out. I absolutely love hearing things like this! Thank you for sharing it.

Oh and I love the song you mentioned! All I listen to the Christian station now and I have heard it! It's a great song!

Cheryl said...

Awesome story! I am proud of you for listening and acting!

Anonymous said...

What an awesome story!

I was approached that way as you approached that person just a few days before Christmas. This man handed me a $20 bill and said, "The Lord has been very good to me and I wanted to bless you. Merry Christmas." and walked off. I had just enough time to say thank you before he rushed off.

SamandSawyersMom said...

wow. i can't believe how touched i was that you did that. I now have the same darn tears. I think knowing how you hate to spend money made that more of an impact on me. That is amazing. Good for you.. and of course, Good for GOD!!