After I told her the story, she asked what made me think about it?
"I dunno, just have random thoughts sometime" I said.
And I do, quite often.
When we got to my brothers for dinner told him about telling Massey all about this woman we met on our road trip back home after Thanksgiving. I asked if he ever thought about her, because I did.
He said "You know what? I do. I told someone about it just the other day."
So here goes my random rambling thoughts (again).
My brother don't play when it comes to leaving after a holiday trip back to Atlanta. He absolutely loves living in Orlando and only reason he ever returns to Georgia was to visit his sisters or for work. He picked me up at our rental house here in Orlando around 6:30 AM on Thanksgiving Day. We were the first ones to arrive at my sister's house for Turkey dinner. We left my sister's house around ten that night and slept over at my old house in Newnan which my nephew and his wife are currently renting. He woke me up before 7:00 AM to get on the road again. Dang, we were barely there for sixteen hours! I didn't have enough hugs from all my loved ones yet who I missed, and thought about that as I climbed into his car and we left.
Number one he drives like he's in a race and number two, he never stops.
His A/C stopped working around lunchtime (when I woke up for the first time) a little over the Florida state line so he pulled off to let the car stop and hopefully the computer system reset. We were at a Dairy Queen so went in to eat some burgers and fries. We ordered and went to fill up our drinks while waiting for our food. Chris was ahead of me getting his diet Coke. There was a black woman around my age or maybe a little older standing to the side of the fountain machine in front of me with her back to us. She was very obviously crying quietly and dabbing at her nose with a napkin. Chris continued to fill up his drink and (you know me) felt compelled to ask (and did) if she was okay?
I reached out to rub her back gently. She turned around, this woman I'd never met from Adam (as my parents used to say) and immediately fell into my arms and hugged me tightly.
She told me through hers tears and sniffling, had just found out her father from Tampa had been killed in a car accident on his way to join them for Thanksgiving.
That's when I hugged her tightly and when she began to flat out sob. I bet I held that poor woman for a good thirty seconds, and a long period of time for a random stranger to do.
She said at least he'd been killed instantly and that's when my brother joined the conversation as well.
Us Leach (my maiden name) kids know all too well about the Express Checkout. Both our parents took it.
We all three stood there for a couple of minutes talking with each other about the fragility of life.
She dried her eyes and went back to get in her car.
My brother and I sat down to eat our burgers, saying little and then returned to his car to continue our journey home.
You know, I was originally disappointed about not hanging around longer in Georgia to hug all the people I loved and missed so much.
But with my brother rushing me to leave so early, also made it possible for us to have a random chance encounter with this woman, who needed to be hugged even more.
So maybe I didn't get to hang around long enough and hug the peeps I love and miss. That's okay. They are all still there, waiting to hug me too. At least it was just a goodbye, see ya later.
I can't tell you how often I've thought about that woman since our random chance meeting took place.
It was a Pay It Forward Moment.
I need to slap myself in the face more often.
Til next time...Cotton