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An Independence Day Story

Today, an incident occurred that made me realize how great this country could be if more people simply showed some kindness, some understanding, and put aside preconceived even hidden, prejudices about race or other differences.

It began when my wife, Jackie, and I went to the supermarket to get some ground meat and rolls because we had forgotten to defrost anything for dinner. I know, it's the July 4th weekend, and who would think we'd forget to put something out to grill.

So, after finding what we needed, we jumped in the Express lane behind an African American family that was finishing up. There were two men, a little boy, and a woman who appeared to be his mom.

After a couple of minutes, as the older man with a shiny bald head and a trim beard was paying their bill, he turned towards us and said to the clerk, "I got theirs, too. Add it to my bill."

Startled, I said, "What? Why are you doing that?"

"Because we inconvenienced you, and I'm just a nice guy," he replied

"You didn't inconvenience us," I said, "That's entirely not necessary."

"Do it," the man told the clerk. "I got theirs."

We thanked him profusely and wished him and his family a happy July 4th. As we walked to the car behind them, it occurred to me that we had just purchased fresh fruit and veggies from the pickup truck farmer in the parking lot across the street, where they doubled our order because it was after 4 p.m. So instead of getting one cantaloupe, we got two; eight ears of corn instead of four, etc.

So, I called to the man and told him about that and asked him if he'd like some veggies.

"Yes, please!" he said.

So, we walked back to my car, and I gathered a cantaloupe, some tomatoes and fresh corn together and handed it to him.

"Hey, look at that!" he said. "Thanks!"

When I asked if he was local, he said, "No, we're here for the 4th and the beach. We're from Montclair, New Jersey."

"I know where that is," I said.

"You do? You know New Jersey?"

"Yea," I said, "I used to work for Jim Florio when he was in Congress. Was his chief of staff, and now we do a podcast together." (Besides serving in Congress, Florio also was the state's governor for four years.)

"No kidding!" the man said. "What a small world!" He extended his hand, and we shook.

As he and his family jumped in their car and drove away, a feeling of goodness swept over me.

Just a simple act of kindness can do such wonders. "This is how it should be," I said to myself. "Why can't this be the norm?"

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1 Comment

Mark M. Bello
Mark M. Bello
Jul 04, 2021

10 views and zero comments for this wonderful story of kindness and racial harmony. The story is uplifting; the response not so much. Thanks for sharing, Bob

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