Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Old Soldier Still Marched...

Having procured his merchandise, the old timer shuffled away from the cashier, behind his WalMart cart.  I didn't pay Him much mind as I turned to grab one of the empty carts and he headed my direction.

As the old gentleman neared though, the writing on his hat seized my attention, and I straightened up in a gesture of respect...and reflection. "WWII VETERAN" his hat announced proudly, and I stepped aside quietly out of appreciation for his duty to our country as he slowly made his way toward me.

No doubt my own father’s service in World War II makes me even more appreciative of this fading generation of heroes. I felt a lump 
in my throat as the man passed by, thinking of dad, now gone these past ten years. But I was quickly jolted from my moment of sentiment as the man raised up in a moment of realization that something was amiss in his shopping cart.

Like the proud soldier he once was, the old vet did an about-face
and marched directly back to the cash register. Suddenly those once shuffling feet began to lift, right-left-right, in a straight line that would make Gen. Patton proud. I stood and curiously watched, then meandered over where I could hear what could have riled up the man so. I surmised that he must’ve realized that he been overcharged, or perhaps been short-changed.

I saw him reach down in his cart and pick up his cane and begin waving it at the cashier, though I still wasn’t close enough to hear what he was saying. He was obviously distressed over something, and honestly, I thought I might have to come to the cashier’s rescue...

Proverbs 2:7 tells us:
                   He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
                   He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
Integrity might be a dying characteristic in the world we live in today, but I’m thankful when I see integrity put into action, as I did that day in WalMart...

"No, ma’am, I don’t think you did," I heard the old vet say with a strong voice to the cashier, handing her his receipt with one hand, the partially raised cane in the other. 

The young woman's eyes quickly scanned the receipt. Giving it a thorough once over, she looked up from the paper, with a sense of realization of her own...

"Yes sir, you’re right.   I didn’t charge you for your new cane." Then, jokingly she added, "But you coulda just kept going, no one would’ve even known!"

"No, ma’am...I would’ve known," the old veteran replied, "And that just wouldn’t set well with me."

I walked on into the store and smiled to myself, grateful to have witnessed that simple act of integrity...I smiled again as I passed the $7.95 canes on display just beyond the cashier’s line.