A neighborhood Dollar General Store was crowded this past Saturday morning.
There were probably six, eight, maybe 10 customers in line waiting to checkout when a decent looking, modestly dressed woman approached customers in line to checkout.
She came around from the rear of the store to the front, sort of shuffled to a spot near the line at the register, and in a clear but not such a loud voice said, "Can I ask you folks for some help?"
I wished you could have seen the reaction.
Heads turned in the opposite direction. Some bowed their heads. Others got busy looking for their wallet or reviewing the items they were waiting to purchase.
But no one, I mean absolutely no one, stepped forward to be a good Samaritan and offer their assistance. And then the woman seeking help explained.
"You see my father's in a nursing home and all he wants for Christmas is a tin box of King Leo soft peppermint stick candy.
"I can't find it anywhere and I was just hoping some of you might know where I might go to find it. I've been all over town and can't find it in tins anywhere."
The line's reaction was immediate relief. Without a doubt each person standing there waiting their turn to checkout thought for sure the woman making the request for their attention was about to ask for money or for some favor that they weren't about to grant.
Some may have even thought worse. Could she be carrying a gun? Is she about to rob the place? Is she going to rob us?
What a crazy world we live in.
Once she declared her request, all was well. Almost all offered assistance. One woman who worked at a nearby store said she was pretty sure she had seen King Leo tins on shelves in her store and volunteered to take the lady with her.
Shootings in Colorado, armed robberies, home invasions and so many other crimes of this nature have left us all wary of strangers and strange behavior. We have a watchful eye on guard constantly. We're dubious of what might be around the corner or waiting at the next turn.
Crime, violent acts, deceit and fraud have left a lasting scar on many us even during a season that is to be filled with joy and generosity.
She didn't want anyone to buy the candy for her. She just wanted our attention to ask for some information so her father could have his Christmas wish.