Walking home the other day from the grocery store, I’d zoned out. I was running ahead in my mind thinking about what was next on my to-do list. The world around me had fallen away. Until…
“Hey! Hey, man!”
I heard it, but ignored it. Surely it wasn’t directed at me.
“Hey, man. Where’d you get that?”
I turned my head in the direction of the voice and saw a man leaning out the window of his pickup truck across the street.
“Did you get that at Loblaws?” the guy asked, pointing at the package of Cashmere Ultra wedged under my arm.
“Yes,” I replied.
“There were five left on the shelf.”
He shrugged. “Thanks. I’ll check to see if there are any left.”
I started to walk away, then I noticed the police cruiser parked behind the truck. The guy had been pulled over for something and was waiting on his ticket. So, I kept walking. But when I reached the corner, I spun around and looked back at the truck. It was still there, the police officer handing over the ticket. By the time the man made it to Loblaws, I figured the toilet paper would be gone. And that would suck.
The light turned green, and everyone around me crossed the street. I stood there, unable to make up my mind — keep walking or share my toilet paper. We had enough at home to get us through for a bit. I’d picked up the package because it was finally on the shelf, a rarity during these COVID-19 days. The officer was still standing next to the vehicle, and from where I stood having a nice little chat with the guy he’d just ticketed. Then he moved off, and I hurriedly retraced my steps.
“Hey,” I called out just as the truck pulled away from the curb. The driver hit the breaks and looked at me. “Do you need some?”
“Yeah,” he said.
I jetted across the street to the passenger side, tore open the package and started handing his wife rolls of toilet paper. “I’ll give you half.”
By the fifth roll, the woman said, “Oh, that’s really enough. You’re too kind. Can we give you any money?”
“Absolutely not. It’s the same everywhere. Nothing on the shelves.”
“God bless you,” she said and repeated it a second time as the truck started to roll.
Kindness is the Key
Lately during my runs through the streets of Toronto, I’ve noticed a sign posted in the windows of restaurants and shops shut down because of COVID-19. It reads:
We’re All in This Together
Yes, we’re all in this together. And kindness is the key.