WOU creates a community

I was at Waremart the other day; I was standing in line with a gallon of milk, a package of 12 chicken Top Ramen’, and some toilet paper. There was a couple in front of me with probably 50 or so items, I knew it would be a while so I set my things on the ground and pulled out my phone. As soon as I began playing Hearts an older woman with a bottle of wine in line behind me asked if I was a student at Western Oregon University. I told her I was, to which she responded by telling me she graduated there long before I was even a glisten in my parents eyes. When she asked what year I was I knew this conversation would have the potential of lasting a while and I was in no hurry, so I put my phone away and leaned up again the checkout line. After telling me that she went there for early childhood education and then went on to teach elementary school for 50+ years, she asked what I was studying. She seemed absolutely fascinated when I told her that I was majoring in anthropology, she began asking question after question about the courses I was taking and how interesting the topic was. “What do you want to do with that?” She asked.

I paused for a while and thought, my mind was going crazy, I realized that in all honesty, I don’t know what I want to do. I’ve explored several routs, many of which interested me greatly but I still didn’t know if they were want I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

Finally, I came back to reality and simply said “honestly, I just want to make a difference, I don’t care if it’s in one person’s life or in millions of lives, I just want to make a positive difference. I don’t care what I do as long as it’s something that is important to somebody.” She smiled at me and said she could tell that I would be a success.

Her phone rang and after fumbling around in her oversized purse she pulled her cell out of her coat pocket, looked at the screen and said “I should take this it’s my daughter.” She talked for a couple minutes and I returned to my game of Hearts. After hanging up the phone she looked at me and sighed saying, “and I thought I’d get a slow relaxing night with this bottle of wine,” laughing a little. I asked her if she wanted to go before me since she only had one item and she graciously accepted my offer.

After getting her debit card back from the cashier she looked at me, winked and said “it doesn’t take a whole lot to make a difference in one person’s life, I can tell you that you made one tonight,” then she turned and walked out of the store.

I put my few things on the counter and moved up to the check stand. As the woman scanned the items I found my wallet in my purse and pulled out my debit card.  The cashier bagged up my items and told me to have a nice day while handing them to me over the counter. “I haven’t paid yet,” I said perplexed, “your grandma told me she was covering your stuff,” she responded. Not quite sure how to react I put my wallet away grabbed my bags and walked outside. I looked around the parking lot and saw the woman sitting in her car waiting to pull out of the driveway, she looked at me smiled and waved before pulling out onto the street.

By Devin Lowrey

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