Hurdles… #4

Dana left the car running as she made her way to the building.  The bell chimed as she opened the door and stepped in.  Again, she was greeted by a cloud of smoke, and the same clerk apologized from behind the counter.

“Man, I am so sorry!  To be honest, I forgot you were still here,” the clerk confessed.

“It’s alright,” Dana coughed in response.

She made her way to the donut aisle and grabbed a bag of chocolate and powdered donuts.  She and her sister always argued about which was better, so she just grabbed both.  She then moseyed over to the coffee counter and filled up two large cups of black coffee.  She left her own black, but Emily’s she sprinkled in some sugar and peppermint.  Dana carried everything she had collected over to the clerk and he rung her up.  She dug through her wallet for some cash and realized all she had was a five-dollar bill.  Why didn’t she check before she picked up the donuts?  When the clerk said her total was more than five, she almost slammed down her wallet.  It had been a long day and night and she just wanted some coffee and donuts.  She was working three jobs, so why wasn’t that enough?  It made her infuriated!

“I’m so sorry,” Dana began, trying to stay calm, “but all I have is a five.”

The clerk looked at her for a moment, contemplating on what to do.  On normal occasions, he would have to tell her to replace certain items and only buy what she could afford.  But this was not any normal circumstance.  This woman had driven all day and spent the night in the parking lot.  It was clear she could not afford much and that she was desperate to get to her destination.  So the clerk made a quick decision that would probably get him fired.

“It’s alright,” he declared.  Dana blinked.  “Just give me the five and I’ll pay for the rest.”

“What?” Dana squeaked.

“Take the coffee and the donuts and have a nice day,” the clerk smiled.

Dana couldn’t believe it, but she quickly grabbed her items and rushed out before he changed his mind.  She was careful to balance the coffees so that nothing spilled, and then gently placed them on the top of her station-wagon as she opened the driver’s door.  She tossed the donuts at Emily and then carefully grabbed the coffees and placed them in the cup-holders.  Dana plopped into the driver’s seat and fastened her seat-belt, ready to get on the road.  Emily noisily opened the donuts as her older sister pulled out of the gas station and started driving.  It was going to be another long day, but at least they had coffee and donuts to help them along the way.  They had eaten – or Emily had eaten – almost all of their other snacks.

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