The incident at the chicken shack

It’s Friday night, and I’m really jonesing for some tasty independent fried chicken. And rather than dine on stuff from the colonel, or from that sailor with the anchor tattoos, I chose instead to get some deep-fried chicken from a nearby independent chicken shack in the South End.

Trust me. This stuff is so good, you’ll never want to eat anyone else’s fried chicken.

As I arrived, the counterperson was completing an order someone else. The patron had bought enough chicken and sides for a small family, but was having trouble completing the transaction. She had placed her credit card in the nearby ATM, but it wasn’t giving her the necessary funds. “I know I have enough money,” she said in a very quiet but overwhelmed voice. “I have $9 in my savings and at least $12 in my checking account.”

Yeah, but you know and I know that ATM’s only give out money in $20 denominations.

She filtered through her pocketbook and found some dollar bills. “Can I give you these and you can deduct that amount from the bill, and I can pay for the rest with my credit card?”

“I can do that,” said the proprietor. “You’ll still owe $16.”

“Oh,” she replied. “Well, I have at least $9 in my savings account and $12 in my checking account, I just don’t know how to get both of those accounts to pay for the food.”

“Miss,” I interrupted. “I can help you out. I know how to do this. Would you like me to show you?”

She smiled.

“Okay. First thing we need to do is take your card out of the chicken shack point of sale reader.”

She did so.

I quickly put in MY credit card and said, “Ring it up.” Paid for her meal.

Immediately both the proprietor and the patron figured out what happened. Random act of kindness. Trust me, I don’t want anybody to be scraping their couch cushions for quarters just to feed their family. I’ve been down that route in the past. Trust me, during the time when I was a single father, I went without so that my family could go with.

Then I bought my own chicken dinner – three pieces with French fries and a diet cola. Used a second credit card just because I didn’t want my first credit card to wonder, “Hmm, why is he buying two dinners at the exact same time at the exact same location?” and question if it’s fraud.

Nope. Not fraud. Just helping out someone in a moment of need.

This is what you do in this world. And maybe somewhere down the road, that woman will do a random act of kindness to someone else in need.

And I’m definitely good with that.