My 17-year-old daughter, Cassidy, called crying from the car. She had pumped her gas tank full, grabbed a soda and candy bar and went to pay the cashier. Her debit card was declined. But what transpired after displays the true heart of rural America.
First, this was not our daughter’s fault. The blame lies squarely on her parents shoulders. We have one daughter in college, the other a senior in high school and both using the same bank account. And with more than one account, we did not remain diligent in watching where their funds went. (Dave Ramsey would not be proud.) Unfortunately, Cassidy suffered the ramifications for our mistakes.
If it were not for the kind employees at our small town Casey’s General Store, the event could have been far worse.
My daughter is a regular at the store, arriving for breakfast before school, a snack after school and gas before driving the 15 miles home. Like many small towns, cashiers recognize regulars and in many cases know customers by name. So when the card was denied, she was mortified.
Cassidy tried to give back the soda and candy bar to see it that would lower the bill and the card would go through. It didn’t. She said that the woman behind her offered to pay her tab. Of course, she though it was $3, rather than the $30. The customer did not have that much money. Then the cashier leaned into our daughter, quietly asked for her license and phone number and told her to come back with the money. And she let her walk out the door.
When Cassidy arrived at my door, she was fighting to explain the ordeal through the sobs. We quickly got into the car and made the trek back to town to settle our debt.
As I walked in, I apologized. Then I met Sandy Molina. At that moment, I realized just how thankful I am to live in rural America. “It can happen to anyone,” she said smiling. “She (my daughter) just looked so scared. If I would have had the money, I would have given it to her,” she said. Both Sandy and her assistant manager wanted to help. Rather than humiliate her, they showed her compassion. They exemplified how in people in small towns care about others, no matter how young or old, rich or poor.
That is why today is a good day to give thanks for small towns. They are full of people who will care for your children. They will offer them mercy and ask for nothing in return.
As I was about to pay for the fuel, Sandy asked if I wanted to purchase my daughter’s soda and candy bar since she was so upset. I explained that I did not even know what she was attempting to buy. Then the assistant manager said, “I do.” He walked down the aisle picked up a bottle of Dr. Pepper and a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Minis. Now that is going the extra mile.
So a huge shout out to Sandy, her assistant manager and Casey’s General Store for providing a caring, compassionate small town store experience for my kids and yours.