General Non-Fiction posted November 23, 2022

This work has reached the exceptional level
A Bonus vs A Loan

A Christmas Bonus

by Terry Broxson

I was at Walgreens picking up a new prescription my doctor wanted me to take for my heart. The clerk rang the total up and said, "It will be one hundred-forty-five dollars."
I asked, "How much?" I guess I thought if she repeated the price, it would be less. But no, she replied, "One hundred-forty-five dollars."
"And that is after insurance?"
"Yes, insurance paid three hundred dollars. The one-forty-five is your part."
"I see. I was not expecting that much. I only have fifty dollars with me." 
The clerk looked a bit embarrassed for me but said, "What about a credit or debit card?"
"No, I don't have one with me or a check."
The fella beside me, maybe fifty years old or so, said, "Maybe this will help." He handed me a hundred-dollar bill.
I was a bit flustered by the offer but said, "I don't know about that."
The man said, "Consider it a Christmas bonus."
I replied, "But I didn't do anything to earn it."
"Well, then we will consider it a Christmas loan. Pay me back the next time you see me."
"I don't know when that will be."
"I don't either, but I am sure it will work out."
As I drove away, I wondered if I thanked him. I carry a hundred-dollar bill in my wallet, just in case I ever see him.
The old man was about seventy-five, maybe a couple of years older than my dad if he were still alive. I was standing beside him at the Walgreens checkout pharmacy counter as we were both picking up prescriptions. I had little choice but to hear his conversation.
I offered him a hundred dollars to get his meds. I was worried he might not take it, but he did. I said he could pay me back when he saw me.
A couple of weeks later, I saw him in the grocery store across the street from Walgreens. I had to duck down an aisle quickly so he wouldn't see me. I thought it might not be good if he didn't have a hundred bucks.
When I got in my car, I thought, Why did you do that?
I figured the answer was two-fold. First, if he had been my father, I would hope someone had helped him. Second, selfish on my part. I wanted my father to be proud of me.

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