It was late Saturday, and I was driving home. My date with Adelaide was coming to an end. My friend Yank and his date were in the back seat. The dinner dance that we had attended had worked out very nicely. But now it was time to go back to life as usual.
As I kept driving I noticed that it was getting darker, and snow flakes were becoming heavier in the path of the headlights. I did not realize how heavy and frequent the snowflakes fell. By the time I dropped everyone off and arrived at my home, the snow was a few inches deep. I did not realize this was going to be the snowfall of the year. The roads would remain treacherous for days and days, and the temperature would be devastatingly low. However, no matter how bad the weather was I had to show up for work the next day.
I was a butcher and my job was to cut up the chickens into quarters, and put them on a rotating spit. The head of the meat department relied upon me and I knew it.
This one particular Saturday night we were very slow, and I was grateful. Very few customers showed up, although I was all alone I was able to handle the job. Towards the end of my shift a black woman came to my counter and asked, “How much is that chicken?” When I told her the price she became very despondent. She counted her coins and through her teary eyes said. “I don’t have that much, but my children need to eat.” This was too much for me. I then noticed that she was still shivering, and I said “Don’t you have anything warmer to wear?” She replied, “I only have this.” She then asked how much the neck bones were. I told her that was the cheapest meat. It was $.11 a pound. She counted her coins once more and said, “Okay, give me whatever this will pay for.”
I then unrolled a piece of butcher paper, and threw in a few scoops of ground beef. I quickly wrapped it and on the outside of the package I wrote “neck bones” and circled what she would have to pay for this package - $.87 .
Then I said to her, “Here. Take this, go straight to the cashier, don’t make any stops, and don’t buy anything else. You only have enough for this.” She didn’t answer but just said “God bless you.” I said, “That’s alright, but just get out of the store fast.” She answered with another “God bless you, God bless you,” and then moved away.
A few minutes later, Red the Meat Manager came back to my counter holding on to the mismarked package of meat. He glared at me and said, “What the hell is this? You have a few pounds of ground beef marked neck bones. Do you think we are running a charity store here?” I tried to explain, but it did no good. Red glared at me and spoke quite harshly. “That’s it! Get your things and check out. You’re fired!!”
That was the end of my career at Foodtown. I was quite devastated, but I survived. Now many years later I realize that though this was kindly of me, it still wasn’t my “right” to do what I did. If I felt that I wanted to help this woman, I should have BOUGHT her what she needed.