PB, BB and I were at the supermarket, discussing what to get for lunch. We had friends coming over and we were trying to think of what we could make that was yummy and within our weekly budget. I had a bunch of vine ripened tomatoes in the basket. PB was suggesting to get salmon. We weren't arguing, nor were we speaking loudly. The conversation went something like this:
We could get some salmon?
We can't afford salmon.
We only need a small piece. For baguettes. It will be nice.
OK. What about these tomatoes?
We have other tomatoes at home.
OK, we'll use those. I think we need cheese.
What cheese do you want?
I dunno. I've lost track of our budget this week. And we bought the heater last week...
Yeah. I have a fiver in my wallet.
I have a fiver too.
Now don't get me wrong, we're not by any means poor. Although we rent a teeny flat we're in a lovely part of Sydney. When we lived in London we went out for dinners, movies and I bought myself new clothes (probably a little too often). Coming back to Australia and starting a family so unexpectadly has made us have to shift things around a little. We live on one salary. We took a small loan to get a car and with the left over bought a camera. The camera is an investment that we hope to put to good use in the near future. We now have a weekly budget. It's not huge, but it allows for groceries, take-away one night, petrol, one visit to an osteopath and maybe a couple of coffees. But I digress...
I looked at the tomatoes and said I'd put them back, but we were still no further along in what to get and I started to get a bit flustered. PB said he would go for a walk to give me a couple of minutes to have a think about what I wanted to do. I walked over and put the tomatoes back and went to check out the cheeses.
A lady walked up to me and put fifty dollars in my basket. At first I thought I must have dropped it, but I knew I didn't have that much on me. Then she said 'Sweetheart, go and get your tomatoes'. I looked down at the money and back at her. I was in shock. I felt my eyes well up with tears and tried my hardest to keep them from spilling over. I grabbed the money to give back to her, telling her that we were really okay and I couldn't possibly accept it. She looked at me again, 'I've been there, I know what it's like. Take it. I can afford it. Go and get your tomotoes and get yourselves something nice. ' I only just managed to get her name before she walked away.
Jan, I know you'll probably never read this but thank you so much. Your kindness will never be forgotten.
I don't expect we'll ever be rich. But I hope one day we'll be a little better off, and maybe I can do something like this for another young family starting out.