A Little Help

I stopped in at McDonalds on the Praterstrasse the other day to have a snack. While standing in the queue, waiting for my turn, staring at burgers and French fries, which made me really hungry, I spotted an old lady counting her coins, as the clerk turned to her ready to take her order.

The poor woman started asking him the prices of the burgers. I noticed the despair in her voice, as she was getting nervous. I realized she didn’t have enough money to buy anything. I got so involved in what was happening that I didn’t notice the seller calling me. It was my turn to order. But how could I think about that tasty Big Mac Menu, when the person next to me couldn’t effort even a tiny burger.

My hunger vanished, as I addressed the more interesting challenge: How to help her in a way that she would not feel embarrassed or offended. I hurried up with my order hoping that she would not leave before my food was ready. She was just disappearing out the door, when I finally received my order nicely packed in the paper bag. I took the bag and thanked the clerck in mid pivot and headed out after her, saying: Sie können das gern haben, in my broken German.

Her tired navy blue eyes sparkled, a look I will remember for the rest of my life. I handed her the bag, nodding, and watched her as she shuffled off down the street.

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