You may have also been the one member from your household on the long snaking line outside the hardware store. But you couldn’t have seen what I saw, as I stood there.
It was on corona’s Erev Pesach, so instead of filling up the hardware store to beyond maximum capacity with harried human beings, we were all docilely waiting outside the store on a line about ten times six feet.
I was in a rush, though I don’t know about you. It was hard to wait while one customer at a time entered to make his purchases of sink inserts, knives, hot water urns, ke’arahs, Pesach tape and corrugated plastic. Especially when one customer seemed to be taking an awfully long time.
I was second in line, so I had a great view of the store from six feet away. I watched through the closed door as a young teenaged girl brought her purchase to the cashier. She was dressed as a Bais Yaakov girl, and was lugging an urn for boiling water on Yom Tov. One that came with a Shabbos mode and kept the water piping hot. I wasn’t surprised to watch the cashier tell her that it was sixty dollars.
But apparently she was, because she said, “Sixty dollars?” in the futile hope that she had heard wrong. She hadn’t of course, so she began to look through her wallet in a way that said she was looking for cash she didn’t have. I was a little antsy, but I couldn’t help but wonder how this would play itself out. I hoped the girl would be able to take home her urn in time for Yom Tov.
I needn’t have wondered nor worried.
There was one guy in front of me in line, a thirties-looking man with an open-necked blue shirt. He’d seen the same scene I did, with an up close view right from the door. Like an angel to the rescue, he opened the door and stuck out a twenty.
“Is this enough?” he asked the girl. With profound gratitude evident in her eyes, she nodded. Picking up the bill from where he placed it, she paid for her urn. As she left, she asked the man how she could repay him. You know what his answer was. “Don’t repay me, it’s okay.”
And I could tell it was. He was allowed into the store as soon as the girl left, already talking on her phone, telling her family members the incredible story of how the kind man had helped her. As I continued awaiting my turn, I marveled. This man had quietly helped a young girl and her family whom he didn’t know, with no one around to see it, except for me, as the closest bystander. Judging from his mode of dress and her mode of dress, they did not run in the same circles, and yet, he didn’t think twice about bailing her out with his money.
I wished all of Klal Yisroel had seen this man’s deed. But it was enough that the Most Important One had seen it.