Yesterday we went to our usual hang-out, Walmart. OK, it's not our hang-out but many weeks it definitely feels like that. I'm sure most of you moms know what I mean. My friend in Alaska used to tease me about how much I love to go to Walmart. But since she lives on a 5 mile island with no 'super center', she doesn't understand that I go there because it's cheap and it's convenient. It's not that I love Walmart or think they have the best items/craftmanship, etc. It's cheap with mid-range products and convenient (One-stop shopping is very important when you have 4 kids to get in and out of car seats. My mom says if she had to deal with car seats, she'd probably never have had three kids...and I wouldn't be here to amuse you today).
After we had done our shopping and grazed through the samples/demos of the day, we headed to the checkout. While we were shopping, we heard various announcements on their music system. A local radio station was there, doing a fund-raiser for the Children's Miracle Network and, more specifically, our local children's hospital. Walmart had given them some big shopping sprees in the toy section and while we were looking over the new Transformers and picking out a b-day present, we heard them in the next aisle picking out various toys. Just in front of the checkout area, they had a big table set up where they were accepting donations and giving out pieces of cake. The kids eyes glazed over as I shook my head for them to go get some. I was wrapped up in paying and then the cashier forgot to add an item and I had to go through the paying process twice so it was a few minutes before I caught up with the kiddos.
They had set up camp on a chair next to the table. They had their plates sitting on the chair and they were kneeling and standing next to it, eating. As I walked nearer, Matthew said, "Oh and I see that you have some punch - may I have some of that too?" Cake-serving Man said, "You sure can" and poured them some. I arrived and picked up a piece of cake to share with Jade, who was in the front of the shopping cart. Matthew told me that the man was taking donations for the Children's Hospital. I wonder what else the man had discussed with him in the time it took me to arrive. Cake-serving Man stepped away to the Customer Service counter and the table was left unattended for a few minutes. A customer, on her way out, stopped to grab a piece of cake. Matthew jumped up and commanded to her, "Don't forget to make a donation!!" She, looking sheepish, went back to her purse and dug out some money for the jar.
The mom in me wanted to shush him and explain that it wasn't his business if the woman was donating or not. But was it? How could I explain that it was ok for her to take free cake and not drop a donation? Because while a donation wasn't required, it was expected. So what was wrong with him saying it out loud? Why do we, as adults, feel so inhibited that we can't say the same thing? I realize that she could have been someone who's already written her donation checks for the year or any number of reasons (which we did discuss later). But the big picture is that adults laugh at the brutal honesty of children. Why do we do that? Maybe part of the reason we're given children is to learn to be more honest as adults.
Cake man came back and I told him that Matthew was working the table for him and I explained what he did. The man and the cashiers standing around all had a good chuckle. Cake man asked if Matthew could stay the rest of the day... "He can have all the cake he wants if he'll keep that up!"
Here's hoping we all have a more honest day than yesterday.