I was finishing up my holiday shopping at the Arts and Crafts store at the Mellwood Center. It’s a wonderful place to find stocking stuffers and other fun items. While I was in there, this guys comes rushing in and asks the clerks, “Where’s your throwaway gifts for kids?”

The clerks looked at him like he was crazy, so he explained, “I just need some little toys to give to my 4-year-old.” So they pointed toward the area of the store that has such items as bobble-head Jesus, pirate band aids and sushi magnets.

For a brief moment, I was struck by the holiday spirit, and decided to connect with my fellow human being.

I walked over to the man and said, “If you were thinking about activity kits or something along those lines, you’d find them in the next aisle.”

The guy nodded and walked over there.

I continued my shopping, finding a really cool paper-making set that would be perfect for a particular child I had in mind. I got in line, behind rude guy.

As he pays for his purchase, he curses, and looks at the girl behind the counter and says, “Shit. What do you have for a 12-year-old girl? I need something for my daughter.” (He then ranted for a while about how difficult it is to buy for a girl, and how all this gift buying was a pain in the rear.)

The clerk was in no mood to be helpful, and just stammered at him, “I have no idea what to tell you.”

He wasn’t leaving the checkout, and I figured he wouldn’t until someone offered a suggestion. So I piped up, “I think this paper-making kit would be a good gift for any 12-year-old.” Mistake.

He took the package from my hand and looked at it. He slammed it down on the counter and said, “OK. I’ll take it.” He then told the cashier to hurry up because he didn’t have time for her to stand there.

She looked at me. I looked at her. Then I looked at the present I had just picked out about to be purchased by some inconsiderate stranger. I shrugged my shoulders and went back to the aisle where I had found it, and picked up another paper-making kit while the jerk went flying out of the store.

God bless us. Everyone.

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