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Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 25:35’

She’s known simply as “The Shopping Cart Lady”. A neighborhood eccentric, no one seems to know her name, where she lives, or where she goes to at night with her cart. Sightings of her walking along the main drag through town, or at the local shopping center, are casual conversation: ”Hey, I saw The Shopping Cart Lady today at _____.” 

The Shopping Cart Lady is a petite, rather frail looking elderly lady. Her frailty is deceiving; she quickly pushes a metal shopping cart, filled to overflowing with plastic bags, blankets, a pillow, and a dozen more bags tied around the outside, along the busy roadways around town. From my vantage point in the car, she always seems to wear a lot of clothes, no matter what the weather.

It happened that one day I saw her and her cart on the sidewalk parked two doors down from the donut shop I was going to for my coffee fix. She was standing in front of her cart, one hand holding on, facing the parking lot. I’d have to pass her and the cart to get to where I wanted to go.

This was the closest I’d ever been to The Shopping Cart Lady. I felt uncomfortable; it was easier to see her from my car window as I drove past rather than facing her oddity so near. Up close, she seemed even more eccentric than from a distance:  Her hair was unkempt, and she was wearing layers of clothing: a shirt, two unbuttoned sweaters and two unbuttoned coats, a couple of skirts of different lengths, mismatched socks, and well-worn shoes. As I self consciously nodded a “hello” to her, in her face I saw years of struggle. She continued to stare straight ahead.

“Why doesn’t someone do something about her?” I thought judgmentally as I entered the shop.

The donut place was busy, and I quickly forgot about her as I waited in line.

After getting my coffee order, I left the store.  Ahead of me on the sidewalk, I saw a teenage girl speaking to The Shopping Cart Lady.  The Shopping Cart Lady was looking suspiciously at the teenager.

The girl must have been in the donut place ahead of me, because next thing I saw was her smiling as she held out a bag with the shop logo on it, and a fresh cup of coffee.

The Shopping Cart Lady look startled at first, then gratefully reached for the offerings. She smiled back at the teenager, who waved as she continued on to her car, empty-handed, having given her breakfast to The Shopping Cart Lady.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Matthew 25:35

© Diane L. Neuls DeBlasio 2011

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