Eagerly, I stood in line at the counter of our local five and dime store. Mother's Day was a few days away and I had saved all my nickles and dimes to buy a special gift for my mother.
"What can I help you with, little girl"? , said the busy clerk who had many customers waiting in her line.
"I have my allowance money with me and I want to buy my mother a beautiful, lacy handkerchief."
"Are you sure you have enough money", the clerk asked?
As small tears of doubt formed in my eyes, I opened my purse, showing her my money, saying, "I have this much and my brother might loan me more if I need it."
"Well, then, I will show you my prettiest handkerchiefs so that you may select the one you like best."
My eyes sparkled as I found the most beautiful hanky I had ever seen. On snowy white linen, there were lovely pink and red roses with light green leaves and a deep lace trim at the edge.
"Oh, this is the one I want to buy, this hanky looks just like the roses my mother grows at home and I know she will love it."
Smiling at my excitement, the clerk said that she would wrap my mothers gift up and put it in a box for me right away.
When the clerk told me the price for my gift and we counted my change out carefully, tears once again blurred my eyes as I realized that I was six pennies short of the money I needed. I looked frantically all over the store to find my brother, but could not find him anywhere.
Trying not to cry and remembering my manners, I said to the clerk, "I don't have enough money, but thank you for helping me." Hoping to keep my young pride intact, I slowly walked away from the counter, my young heart broken.
The clerk called out after me, "Little girl, please come back."
When I turned around, her tired face was a wreath of smiles. "I have a little girl at home and I wouldn't want her to be disappointed if she were buying me a gift. It just so happens that the lady before you left six pennies of her change behind her; why don't we add these six pennies to your money and we will have the exact amount you need to buy the gift for your mother?"
I looked behind me to see if the lady before me was still in the store, so that we could return her money, but she had already left. Smiling through my tears, I joyously replied, "Can we do that? Can I really buy this gift for my mommy?"
As the clerk wrapped my gift, feeling sure that I did not see her, she leaned over to get her purse and took out one nickel and one penny to add to the money I had given her. I knew what she had done and thanked her from the bottom of my heart, knowing that an angel was in the five and dime that day to watch over my young, tender feelings.
Every Mother's day, I remember the kindness of this woman, who helped a little girl buy her first gift for a loved one. She will always live on in my memories.
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