The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Mel White 

More than a mere coupon

On the Bright Side


June 22, 2019

Mel White

From time to time I like to share funny or encouraging or inspiring pieces that I get from friends or family. I like seeing sharing all sorts of good-news types of stories and, for myself, I also subscribe to a few different uplifting websites that send out great messages to keep me inspired.

I've subscribed to "HeroicStories, Restoring Faith in Humanity One Story at a Time" ( for a few years, and a couple of weeks ago as I was perusing my inbox, I saw one from them titled "More than a Mere Coupon." I chuckled to myself as I knew I had written a piece some years ago and used the same title.

Then I saw that the story in my inbox was by Marilda Mel White...which is me! I had submitted that story to them in 2002 about an experience I had here in Tehachapi. So today I'm doubly happy to share with you a story I received via email, by me (edited slightly for space): "More than a Mere Coupon."

There was nothing in the house to eat; I was tired and hungry and downright grouchy with myself because I had to go to the store before I could eat breakfast. I don't much like starting a day like that.

Trying to make the best of an irritating situation, I thought I'd get some other things while I was in SaveMart, but of course I didn't have a list and I couldn't remember anything else I needed, which further irritated me. I finally picked up a 40-pound bag of dog food (did, in fact, need that) and a few other things and headed for the checkout. There were only three open checkers working, which irked me, and every one of them had a long line that further fueled my bad mood.

The husband-and-wife team in front of me had two carts full. As the checker started ringing them up, they decided they might not have enough money for all the stuff. They started checking the sub-total after every beep, and the woman started sorting things out of the carts into "must have" and "maybe" piles. I understood their situation - I've been there too - but I just wanted to get home to eat my donuts. I was losing patience while the people in front of me argued over decisions...when it hit me that I'd forgotten to pick up donuts.

I swore at myself and went to get the items that had brought me to the store in the first place. By now I was really cranky but I was soon back in a different line, and finally it was my turn to pile things on the belt. The woman in front of me, whom I'd never laid eyes on before, looked at my cart and said, "I think I have a coupon for that."

"What?" I said, rather stupidly. I was so sure that every minute of the day was going to be rotten that at first I didn't even realize my fortune had turned.

"The dog food," she said, going through an envelope full of coupons "I'm sure I have a coupon for that." She found it before I'd finished emptying my cart and handed it to me. I noticed then that she had dog food on the belt too, so I suggested she might want to save the coupon for another time for herself.

"Oh no," she said, "I have plenty of these. You're welcome to it."

I took it, got $3 off my bag of dog food, and thanked her profusely. I imagine she thought I was over-doing it with my gratitude for the coupon, but then again, I wasn't just thanking her for the coupon.

I did appreciate it - every little bit helps with the grocery bills - but I was also thanking her for reminding me that even when things seem bad, there are always bright spots, that even when a day looks like it's going to be lousy, a stranger's act of kindness can turn things around in a hurry.

The coupon-sharing woman reminded me that whenever I think the karmic powers are singling me out to be dumped on - that I always get the slow line or the broken cart or the torn bag - there are also times when I get singled out for a break.

She reminded me that while bad stuff happens, good things happen too, sometimes for no apparent reason. The woman who shared a coupon with me reminded me that even when I least expect it (and least deserve it), some small, kind act can hit me right between the eyes and turn my whole day around.

I also have to remember that I would never have ended up behind that woman with the extra coupon if everything else hadn't gone wrong that morning. Sometimes what I think is "the world dumping on me" is really the world just "nudging me in a different direction."

Sometimes, I'm glad to say, I fully realize and appreciate the unexpected rewards of taking that different direction.


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