Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fleeting Black Friday Friendships

The spirit of goodwill to your fellow man envelopes the holiday season … until it doesn’t anymore. At least that was the case on a chilly Thursday night / Friday morning as my 14-year-old son, Trent, and I braved the crowds for Black Friday, which is traditionally the biggest and busiest shopping day of the year.

Take the chipper employee outside the Target store as an example. He greeted us warmly on a cold night, promising a safe, fun time. He thanked us for coming and said how important we are to him. Then, without a hint of irony or humor, he added something like this, “Plus, we’ve got the police here and a lot of plastic handcuffs and if you step out of line in the least, we won’t hesitate to throw your butts in jail.”

With the admonition over and a two-hour wait ahead, Trent and I chatted with the older gentlemen in front of us and his presumed granddaughter. The man took such a liking to us that when he went for coffee he returned with a couple of cups for us, too, complete with sugar and cream. I was struck by his generosity

A short time later, feeling refreshed and rejuvenated by the liquid warmth, Trent and I hit the store with gusto, getting everything on our Black Friday list and then some. We left satisfied … and without plastic handcuffs. I thought of the man who had given us the coffee earlier, wondering aloud what happened to him.

“Oh, he reached for a cart, and I darted by him,” Trent said. “I mean I appreciated the coffee, but …”

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