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[from the editor] An Apple Pie of Love

Joined: 8/22/2011
Posts: 53
I’m not the only one on this planet who has ever asked his/herself whether good deeds will ever be rewarded. In fact, as cynical as it sounds, many people would wait and wait for that tangible, material give-back even at their death bed, grieving as though it never came.

I’ve tried to remain a firm believer in true service. It makes me happy, yes, whenever I see a smile lit up upon an elder’s wrinkled face as I picked up his fallen wool hat or when a tiny, chubby hand reaches out to me on the metrobus as I offer her my seat. But it was only two days ago when a casual surprise cemented my faith in being a giver.

She was with her baby brother when they sprinted into the McDonald’s three blocks from my mother’s house. She couldn’t have been older than me. I was second in line then, subtly pressing my growling stomach to silence its irksome complaints of hunger. Out the window, the setting sun emanated a purple glow across the grove, chidding the sweat-soaked workers to hurry home. My mother was sitting by the left booth, reading her smart-phone rather absentmindedly; I knew it was only to pretend that she wasn’t starving.

Then the toddler knocked something over--something by the door. It was a ‘WET-FLOOR Caution!’ sign with that falling figure. Everybody at the restaurant heard it, the loud ‘B-AAAAACK’ ensued by fearful cries and stern chastisements. I looked towards the boy and his guardian, one desperately obscuring his face and the other florid with fury. Guilt was clearly engraved upon their faces. Across the tiles beneath the ‘scene of crime,’ a puddle of water was still observable, reflecting the purple sky.

The sister, with her bangs curled draping down her cheeks, yanked her brother’s wrist while screaming something in a foreign language. That something must have deeply wounded the four-year old’s innocent heart, for his wailings became piercing as he violently jerked his sister’s skirts.

Now people were beginning to rise from their chairs, some pointing their pinkies whilst unchewed lettuce spurted from their mouths. Sensing countless pairs of unwelcoming eyes and grasping with the fury of a five-year old, the girl grabbed her brother’s arm and quickly sped away.

I watched them leave. Immediately, I marched off the waiting line and arrived at the door to restore the caution sign. Only when my fingers pinched the corner of the board did I smell something pungent, and felt something repulsively warm. Oh S**T. I could hear giggles behind me, but it was too late, now it’s my mess, and I gotta fix it. I went to the restroom under my mother’s inquisitive eyes and retrieved a bundle of watered paper towels and standing soap. I tried to be as fast as I could, both embarrassed and admittedly disgusted, especially with a upset stomach. Finally the sign was dry again

I returned to the service bench, made my orders quickly and ran to the restroom to rinse my hands. And when I came back, my meal was already prepared, except with three apple pies I had not asked for.

“I’m sorry Ma’am,” I said to the service lady racing across the counter, “but these pies were not in my order, somebody probably made a mistake.”

“It’s a gift,” she said while making a dipping cone, seeing my bewildered look, she added, “why don’t you go sit down now, as I said, it’s a gift from a friend not too far.”

That dinner was awfully filling, especially with those three freshly-baked, sweet apple pies.

As my mother and I exited the door, a hunchbacked, wrinkle-faced man holding a broom stopped us on our way. He spoke in broken English,

“Thank you, Senorita. For taking care of that. It would’ve broke my back if I were to do it myself. I’m already seventy five years old.”

He did not have to give me his dinner for me to accept his gratitude, his words already churned me to tears.
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