Yesterday I was Panera for my morning writing session. I walked in and there was one woman at the counter. As I stood behind her, it quickly became apparent that the card she’d handed over to pay wasn’t working, nor was the second card working. I’ve seen that happen, having worked in retail; I have had it happen as a customer, usually when there’s a line of people behind me.
Stepping in closer, I leaned in behind her and said, “I’m going to buy you breakfast.”
She was raw, unvarnished shocked when she looked at me, her dark eyes all wide. Her mouth was open, and she was silent before she said, the essence of eloquence, “…what?”
“I’m going to buy you breakfast! I’ve had that happen to me and it’s always embarrassing because you KNOW you have the money there-”
“It happens all the time, the machines are weird,” chimed in the girl behind the counter.
“Right! And it’s a pain. So I’ll buy you breakfast.”
“Oh no, no no, you can’t! Really, I’ll just go to the ATM. But thank you, that was really nice of you!” She hugged me, grinning by now, and I hugged her back. “Nobody does that any more, thank you!”
“I do that,” I said, smiling a litte wryly. “I guess I’m a bit weird.”
She laughed, and off she went in search of the nearest ATM. I ordered a coffee and a bacon-egg-and-cheese-on-cheddar-and-jalapeno-bagel. It was delicious.