This morning, while we were perusing the bins, I noticed an older gentleman with some sort of obvious mental or social deficit staring at Katherine rather intently.
"Creepster!" I thought.And as quickly as socially acceptable, moved nonchalantly away. There's an adult daycare just down the street from Goodwill Outlet, and sometimes I wonder if the clients occasionally escape. (Also, there's a strip club down the street, so at times some interesting strippers wander in, too. Everyone likes to thrift, you know. It's a fantastic mixing bowl of society.)
So several minutes later, we're wandering through the bins on the other side of the store, and here he comes again. Directly towards us. This time holding out a small stuffed panda bear, battering-ram style.
There's not a lot of room between the bins at Goodwill Outlet, so the only way to let people pass is to move through the aisle ahead of them to get out of their way. Which is what I started to do when he said, "Excuse me, Ma'am, I bought this for your baby. Here's the receipt, so it's already paid for. I thought she'd like it..." and he hands me a receipt and the panda bear.
"Oh! My gosh! That's so nice! Thank you, Sir!"
Stuffed animals at thrift stores totally creep me out. I'm convinced they all have lice and herpes. I know that doesn't make sense, given that I buy most of my clothing in thrift stores. All my clothing could just as easily be full of contagions, but the creepiness remains embedded in my brain. So I'm rather proud of myself for taking the panda and... with only a 3 second pause to silently pray: "Please don't be full of lice or fleas or herpes or cocaine." ...I handed it to my sweet, lice-free baby girl.
"Allergen Theory, Hygiene Hypothesis, Allergen Theory." I chanted in my head as she gleefully giggled and repeatedly hugged the stuffed panda.
"See? She LOVES it! I knew it!" he said.
I agreed, "She DOES! Thank you, Sir! You made my day!"
He smiled and walked away.
5 more minutes of unfocused thrifting and a few unsuccessful attempts to ask Katherine to pretty please *stop* chewing on the second-hand panda (gag)... we headed home. To immediately bathe Katherine, the panda, and myself. In very hot water. ;)
Despite all the silent gagging I did, he really did make my day. I teared up a little over it on my drive home. (I'm a bit of a wimp.) How brave he was to approach us! How kind to carefully select a gift! How generous to spend his money on her, expecting nothing in return!
What a beautiful lesson on a beautiful Saturday morning. ;)