The Karma Meter

Walking through the airport to collect my bag at baggage claim I came along a young man of about 18 sitting on the floor with the contents of his backpack spewed around him scratching wildly at the debris of his young life.  He was on the phone with someone and as I approached I realized this poor young man was actually crying.

I just got off a flight from Tampa to Phoenix.  I was on my way to pick up my bags, grab my rental car and head off in search of Christi’s house for a week long session of “everything wedding.”  Hearing the distress in this boy’s voice was enough to ignite my inner “mother” and nothing I could do would keep her from going to his aide.  As I stood by and eased dropped on his end of the conversation I figured out several things—a son flew home early to surprise his mom; a mom, having no children to tend to, has flown off on a quick vacation before her son returns home; and some nefarious creature has stolen a wallet and now the surprise is on the son because he has no money and no Mom to pick him up at the airport.

I moved a little closer and touched his shoulder.  He looked up at me with startled blue eyes shining from tears that were still running freely down his cheeks.  He spewed out his story between hiccups as tears still ran down the cheeks that were slowly turning red.  He was clearly embarrasses to by crying like a child on the floor of the airport in front of a complete stranger.   “Don’t worry, I’ll give you the cab money to get home.”  I told him.  His expression was one of surprise and confusion.  Telling his mother to hold on, he dropped the phone to his shoulder and said, “I’m sorry?”  Once again, I told him everything is okay, “I’ll give you the cab fare home; tell your Mom everything is okay.”  He told me how much it should cost to get home via cab.  I asked him the appropriate mom question, “When was the last time you ate?”  He said earlier in the day and since I knew his mom wasn’t home and therefore there were probably scant few groceries lying around the house to go bad, I gave him a little bit extra to run through the McDonald’s on his way home so at least he had something to eat.

Okay, I didn’t just fall off the back of a turnip truck.  I know that there is probably a covert run organization of crack addicts who recruit as front men those young people who can cry on command and have the look of a wholesome young college boy.  I know that there is a chance that I just got scammed out of what I thought was cab fare and a Mickey-D’s hamburger but in reality was a couple rocks of crack and a pint of Boones Farm Tickle Pink wine.  I knew all of this as I made my decision to hand over my cash to this young man.  He offered to take my name and address and send me the money back.  I talked to his mother on the phone and let her know that he had cab fare and would be getting home fine.  She offered to send me the money when she got home.  I said no.  Every once in a while you are presented with the opportunity to do something for someone you don’t know just out of the goodness of your heart.  I told the boy to keep the money but to remember that he owed a debt of kindness to the universe.  Someday, it would be his turn to be someone’s knight in shining armor.

I was thanked, I was hugged and then with his eyes dried of tears he disappeared out the door toward the cab stand. Fleeced or not, I grabbed my bag and headed out to enjoy my week of all things wedding hoping that maybe I had banked a couple extra points in the Karma meter. Having two outdoor weddings this year, I know I need as many extra points as I can get.

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