It is one week before Easter. The height of "season." Traffic is snarled. Shops are crowded. Check-out lines at the grocery store are long... and slow.
Yesterday, out of necessity, I found myself in one of those slow moving lines at the local Winn Dixie. The friendly clerk rang up my order while I bagged groceries and placed them in the cart. (You would think that their corporate office would have enough data accumulated to warrant the approval of additional staffing during this busy time of the year. They certainly seem to be aware of all of our other buying habits. But once again, I digress)
The clerk offered up my total, $134.78 and I quickly moved around the counter to pay for my purchase. You can imagine the look of shock and dismay when I opened my wallet to retrieve my credit card and found it empty. That's right peeps, no cash, no credit card, no check book. Zip. Nada. Nothing. (I had been traveling earlier in the week and had moved my credit cards and drivers license to a more travel friendly purse and failed to return them to my wallet.)
I was screwed.
Panic set in as I looked down that long line of impatient Easter shoppers. Their faces were grim. I explained my predicament to the now not so friendly clerk who wishes only to banish me from her sight. She informed me that the purchase would need to be voided and re-rung "if" I returned. "I'll return," I pleaded. "I'll only be ten minutes. Please don't move my cart. I don't want to have to start over."
Defeated and humiliated I kept my head down, refusing to look at my fellow shoppers who have mutiny on their collective minds when suddenly I heard a small voice in the distance.
"Susan, do you need something?"
My head snapped up as I searched the faces of the angry mob for the source of that voice. And there she was, like manna from heaven, my neighbor both here and there, my walking buddy, my good friend, DiAnn.
"Yes," I yelled down the line. "I need cash."
"I have money," she hollered back. "How much do you need?"
Eight heads turned in unison with each volley of words. It was a ping pong match of hope.
Finally a deal was struck and Dianne made her way to the front of the line; added her items to my purchase and presented a credit card that put an end to my pain and suffering. I offered a heart felt apology to the clerk and the other now smiling shoppers and crept out the door. Actually I think I danced out the door, relieved to have escaped the lynch mob.
As for DiAnn, she is my hero.
I am forever indebted to her for being at the back of my check-out line on that fateful day, engrossed in the National Enquirer, with a credit card in her pocket.
It's nice to have friends with benefits.