Then the dad picked up the racket and handed to the cashier. Shock broke over the little girl’s face and mine, a flood that swept us both up.
“Hey, Miss, can they use my coupon, “I yelled to the cashier now welded the racket.
“No, only one per transaction.”
I stared as the remaining items slid into the thin brown plastic bag.
Someone should do something,” I thought.
Then I felt God’s boot on my butt. “Yes, and that someone is you.”
I didn’t want to embarrass the parents. But I had a greater want. I wanted that kid to have that tennis racket. Hell, any kid who wants a tennis racket should have a tennis racket. “She could be the Latina Serena Williams. Give that kid a damn racket,” I wanted to scream.
“Buy it for her,” God whispered.
The family, in the midst of gathering bags, prepared to leave.
“Excuse me, I yelled. “Would you mind if I buy the racket for your daughter, I have a coupon.”
The father eyes glazed over, for a few seconds, then he nodded yes. The mom smiled. The girls gaped.
“Where’s the coupon?” the cashier demanded.
“Well, ahhhh, just take it out of here, forget the coupon.” I said shoving money at her. “How much is it?”
Can you create a miracle for less than twenty bucks? The look on the girls’ faces, the look that said, what a surprise, the world is, at times, a kind place, confirmed you could. The younger girl carried that look out of the door. The older girl, the next Serena, grabbed that racket, shoved it into the plastic bag, twisted it shut, and headed for the exit before someone changed his or her mind.
I held in a snicker. She will go far.
The parents thanked me. “ No need to thank me, “ I said waving them off. “We all want to do the best for our kids,” I said, “We all work hard so we can do something nice.” At least that’s what I said. All I could think was, “Somebody kid was going home from the damn Toys R Us with something they wanted. Tonight.”
Since anger makes me hard of hearing, God spoke louder. “You know, the train delay, the screw ups with the cart, I did that so you’d be here to help.”
Joel O. had just delivered this lesson the Sunday before.
” Sorry for the delay,” the sales associate said, and handed over the paperwork. It seemed a lifetime had passed.
“Thanks for your help and patience.” I folded the sheets, tucked them in my purse and headed to the escalator. A few feet from the moving steps, a tall Asian woman with an even taller teenage boy behind her, flagged me down.
” I saw what you did, that was very kind of you,” she said. “God’s is going to bless you.”
I gave her a weak smile. “He already has, I have a healthy child at home,” I said. “I just want her to have that tennis racket.”
“He’s still going to bless you.”
Her words broke deeper into me, easing in a calmness that caused wetness to cloud my eyes. For a moment. I’d had so many moments of anger in Times Square. My first moment of grace here at the intersection of the world, took my breath a way. Then I sucked them up. Tears just aren’t a good look in Times Square on a Friday night.
The next day’s mail contained a check, a check I had no idea was on the way. A day later, I realized even God likes to show off every now and then.