View of the Cabriolet (red arrow, top center) in the Axis
Food Mart parking lot from behind the customer counter
If there is going to be a conversation with new customers during my 7 am to 1 pm shift at the Axis Food Mart, that’s generally how it starts.
Since the Cabriolet is the only car in the parking lot and I am the only soul around, then obviously it’s my car. But I let the deductive reasoning slide and quickly explain my community service.
A few weeks ago, a new customer listened to my spiel, took his change and a couple steps toward the door before turning around.
“You know,” he said, while placing his plastic bag back up on the counter, “I teach sports to young kids and the other day I discovered one of them was stealing from me.”
His statement seemed to conjure up the hurt he felt. I could see it in his eyes.
“I don’t know what to do,” he lamented.
Years ago, when I ran my graphics reproduction firm back in Princeton, NJ, I encountered a similar situation. My petty cash was light a number of times over a 30-day period and I figured out who was taking advantage of the unprotected cash.
He was a good kid, mostly, and turned out to be a better adult, but at this moment, he was headed down the wrong road. After the next pilfer job, I sat him down and held a simple discussion on trust and honesty. I told him two things. He’s got to admit he stole the money and if he does, nothing will happen to him.
If he doesn’t admit his wrong, his deed will weigh heavy on his heart the rest of his life because he didn’t think the whole process through. If he does not face the other side of the theft, that is, what his victim is thinking, he will never know or understand trust. All he will ever experience is mistrust. And that mistrust is one hurdle one’s self esteem can never jump over. The kid told me, albeit it, haltingly, that he took the money and we never mentioned it again … to anyone. That was his first day of consciously choosing to live in a world of trust.
“I’ll try that,” my customer said as he grabbed his bag and headed back to the door. “I’ll talk to the kid.”
Last week, the coach came back and told me he did have that conversation with his student and the kid admitted his mistake. Then the coach reached into his wallet, pulled out a $50 bill and handed to me.
“That’s for the Community Food Bank and your help,” he said. He pushed his wallet back into his pocket and left abruptly.
I’m thinking that since my Cabriolet is often the instigator of these heady conversations, I’m going to spiff it up a bit this coming weekend with a new coat of wax. Then, maybe, one of my stories will be worth a $100 bill for the Community Food Bank.
Just the Beginning
Meet Mr. Frank Flasch. He’s an engineer who fully understands the meaning of the word consistency. In fact, his profession requires it or things he builds would fall down.
Frank lives in the Old Ft. Lowell Neighborhood and he decided to develop his own One Can A Week program.
Besides the normal neighborhood layout with streets and sidewalks, there are gated communities, too. He likes this aspect because it brings a new dimension to One Can A Week. How does one get those neighbors involved with feeding the hungry families in Tucson when there are rules to follow such as "No Solicitation Beyond These Gates.”.
In a few weeks Frank will tell us how he is doing and how to encourage folks who live in gated communities to donate to the Community Food Bank on a weekly basis. Bet the solution will be fascinating.
We collected a total of 168 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $81.50, a $25.00 check and $56.50 in cash.
See you Sunday,