It was last summer; I was waiting for a flight to LA in the Sydney airport. My destination was a little town called Asheville in North Carolina, and that meant 4 more planes – 23 more hours in the air plus 16 hours in the airport.
While waiting I went to a store in the airport to buy a pack of chewing gum for the next 4 flights. As I approached the checkout counter I noticed a girl from another direction also approaching the checkout counter. She had 2 bags in her hand so although I was ahead of her I gestured her to go first. But she smiled and backed off, so I went ahead.
Right after I have handed the gum to the cashier and she swiped the bar-code, I realised that I did not have with me any Australian money, and my credit card was not working. I was a little embarrassed and was going to put the gum back on the rack.
At that moment, a voice came from behind: “Take it together with these!”
It’s the voice of that girl.
Just like when Forrest first heard Jenny’s voice in his bus ride – I felt at the moment that it’s the sweetest voice I have ever heard.
“You don’t have to do this.” I said.
“No, it’s okay.” She insisted and paid for it.
We walked out of the store.
I thanked her, and she told me I was welcome and smiled.
But I did not know what to say. I wanted to offer her a drink, but knowing that she would probably have to end up paying stopped me from asking.
I still didn’t know what to say, so I opened the chewing gum and offered her one. I apologized for not having anything better and told her the ‘drink thought’ and why it’s not a great idea. She laughed and asked about my flight schedule and we found out that although we are flying to different places we both had an hour to kill, so we went to her waiting gate, where we sat and talked.
Long story short, I found her very attractive and indicated interest in our conversation, although I knew it was unrealistic as she lives in Sydney and I am spending the next 7 months in America. She subtly implied in our conversation that she got engaged last month. And I was smart enough to figure out what that meant.
That hour went by pretty fast and when we hugged goodbye she suddenly asked “Why don’t you buy me that drink when I go to Auckland next time?”
“I think it’s a great idea but it won’t happen unless I know how to find you.”
And then she wrote her email on a piece of paper.
Unfortunately, l, being the kind careless person I was, lost the paper during the flights, and never got a chance to meet this great girl again.
It’s been more than a year now. I’ve dated other girls in that time and and her face is starting to fade away in my memory. But I’ll always remember her sweet voice, and the important things she had taught me that day. “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”