Yesterday I was at the grocery store with my three youngest kids. The cashier seemed to be in a bit of a snippy mood. I was a little nervous because I was pushing the "20 item limit" in the express lane and the man behind me was waiting to just buy two gallons of milk. I only glanced at him quickly. He looked a bit rough around the edges -- kind of like a less fortunate Willie Nelson -- older, thin, long gray hair, etc.
After the obligatory, "Did you find everything you needed?" from the cashier, we all went about our business. The man behind me leaning over his cart waiting his turn. The cashier ringing up and bagging my stuff. Me sliding my debit card and sticking finished bags around kids in my cart.
On a sudden good will impulse, the cashier asked, somewhat halfheartedly, if my kids wanted a sticker.
"Oh," I assured her, "I'm sure these girls would love a sticker."
She gave one from a long roll to Goldie and Penny. While I told them to thank her, she motioned to Jesse and asked, "Does he need one?"
"Oh," I smiled, "No thanks. He'd probably just eat it."
There wasn't anything too hilarious about that, but for some reason it made her laugh. Suddenly the wrinkled and long gray haired man behind me was chuckling too.
"I suppose it wouldn't kill him if he did eat it," I offered.
The cashier laughed, "Maybe there's a little protein in them, hm?"
The man behind me seemed to be quite brightened at the thought of my trouble making little boy eating his sticker and was now chuckling even more fully with us. "Eat the sticker," he mumbled, shaking his head, "Boys will be boys, eh?"
I laughed again with them; took my receipt, and that was that.
It was such a little thing. But it made me happy to have shared that small moment of laughter with those two strangers. It made me think about us as people. We pass each other all day and seldom make even the tiniest connection or acknowledgement. That was such a little thing at the store. It was only two minutes, but for those two minutes, we weren't just oblivious strangers. I liked that even though the three of us appeared to have absolutely nothing at all in common -- age, lifestyles, appearance, etc. -- for a minute we all made a little connection. I can't really explain it. I just like anything that makes me stop and see those around me as real individuals rather than just, "the rough looking guy behind me" or "the snippy cashier."