Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.
~ Scott Adams
I drove through McDonald’s the other day. In front of me a lady driving a vanilla-mocha-colored Escalade, with the tiniest of hands and the brightest of pink fingernails, attempted to throw a quarter into the little container where the money for the Ronald McDonald House goes. But her aim wasn’t so good so she missed the slot on top and the quarter caromed around a bit and then fell to the ground with a plink.
She leaned out the window and her hair, perfectly pinned up and dyed blonde, glistened in the sun. With one hand she lifted her sunglasses and saw where the quarter had landed, but then she leaned back in and drove forward and got her McCafe whatever.
I wondered if she felt it would have been too much trouble for her to take the time to put her Escalade in park and hop out and retrieve the quarter and put it in the slot where she had intended for it to go. But then maybe she didn’t want to ding up her door. Or keep the line waiting. Or maybe she just has money to throw around like that and figured that a quarter lost is really no big deal at all.
A quarter that I’m sure would have helped provide a savory cup of coffee for some grieving mother in some faraway city sitting in an unfamiliar house near a giant research hospital. A cup of coffee that would help her feel just a little bit warmer inside, even as she learns that little Suzie probably isn’t going to get any better in spite of the hopeful way the doctor looks at her when she speaks of alternative treatment plans and the latest research and how little Suzie could very well be part of the point-zero-three percent who responds positively.
Suzie’s mother could have sipped that steaming cup of the most perfect coffee on the planet, the best coffee that money can buy, as tears streamed down her face because little Suzie probably won’t make Christmas this year. Won’t be around to stay up too late on Christmas Eve and make sure that the cookies she made don’t get eaten by the dog when they set them out for Santa Claus, or toss and turn in her bed amidst the sheets with Barbie or Belle or Hannah Montana on them that are rumpled from all the tossing and turning and stoked anticipation of having to wait until morning to open her presents that weren’t there when she went to bed but will sure as shit be there when she gets up and comes screaming down the stairs at the butt crack of dawn and then runs back upstairs to wake up her mother who didn’t get much sleep herself for all the hoopla she knows she will have to endure just to make it through the day.
Only her mother will probably not spent too much time engaging in hoopla of the festive variety this year because Suzie won’t be there.
And she’ll have memories of stale, discount coffee and that’s about it waiting for her this Christmas. Because the lady with the Escalade and the pink fingernails and the perfect coiffure left that quarter lying there on the ground outside the McDonald’s and got her three dollar McCafe whatever and just drove away like it was the perfectly normal thing to do.
Well, I couldn’t stand the possibility of bad coffee happening to that poor lady who is Suzie’s mother so when I pulled up to pay I veered away from the window a bit and then opened my door and fetched the quarter and placed it in the container with all the other nickels and dimes and a few dollar bills. And then I wondered who would get the karmic credit for that quarter and for helping make Suzie’s mom a little less anxious throughout her upcoming ordeal. Then, what if it was a waste of time to put that quarter in there because do they really buy good coffee with all those quarters anyway?
And then I laughed at myself for two reasons. One, only someone as messed up as me would spend so much time thinking about stupid shit like this, and, two, because my Chicken McNuggets were cold. And I mean cold like they must have dug them out of the garbage just so they wouldn’t have to make any fresh ones. And so I laughed at the absurdity of it all and drove away and didn’t complain. Because complaining never did me any good and it sure isn’t going to help Suzie’s mom feel any better either.