A CHRISTMAS STORY
Here is a true story which happened over the Christmas Season a couple of years ago.
A little old lady, obviously very poor, was trying to buy a Christmas ham. The shop was crowded with people pushing each other and calling out to the assistants behind the counter. Several small boys were scrambling around, under everybody's feet.
Unable to shout very loud she hoped to get the attention of one of the clerks by waving. She clutched her worn bag in one hand and waved with the other.....
Finally one of the clerks leaned over the counter. "What for you, lady?"
"One small ham", she said. "The smallest ham you got."
The young man went away and rummaged through the boxes of hams, first weighing one and then weighing another and at length came back with a ham and said, "Eleven dollars and twenty-five cents. Ok?"
The old woman bit her lip. "No. I am sorry. Don't you have anything smaller? I have only ten dollars."
She turned away with a hint of tears in her eyes.
The owner, who was at the cash register during the whole episode, told her to wait and called back the clerk. "It's all right, boy. Give her the ham for ten dollars."
With the ham safely in her shopping bag at her feet the old lady removed a worn ten dollar bill from her cloth purse and handed it to the owner. "God Bless you, sir", she said with a catch in her voice.
"That's all right", the owner said gruffly, a little embarrassed to show his Christmas spirit before the crowd of customers.
Suddenly someone shouted, "Stop that boy," and the old lady realized one of the little boys had grabbed her bag and run away.
He was fast and smart and before anyone could take action he was up Water Lane and gone.
Now the tears really came down the old woman's face and she wailed piteously. And wrung her hands. And started out of the shop.
"Come on boys," someone in the crowd shouted. "Let's help the lady." He waved a dollar in the air. Soon another hand went up and then another. And within a minute the money was collected and paid and another ham, a little larger than the stolen one, was forthcoming from the boxes.
And the owner even gave the little old lady a new bag to carry it in.
Perhaps we haven't all gotten money-mad and cold to the needs of others.