Broke girl knows value when she sees it.
A neatly-dressed man mumbled something in my direction as I stepped up to the door of a 7-Eleven store tonight.
"What did you say?" figuring him for a beggar wanting cash.
He spoke louder, "Do you have a cigarette?"
"No, I don't," I said, and went into the store. While the clerk rang up my caffeine-free Diet Coke, I looked up at the prices posted over the cigarettes behind the counter. Something like $9.95 and such.
"Do you sell single cigarettes?" I asked the tall skinny kid behind the counter.
"Uh, nope," he replied, and kind of laughed at the notion.
"Well, there's that guy outside who wants one. Do you smoke?" I asked. He looked like a kid who did.
"Well, yeah." he replied.
"Could I buy two cigarettes from you? I asked, and pushed a dollar across the counter toward him.
He smiled as he pulled a pack out from under the counter and handed a single cigarette to me. "No, no money," he insisted. "I get it."
"No, keep the dollar," I said.
"No no, really, keep it," the clerk insisted.
But I said, "Thanks, I appreciate it," and left the dollar on the counter. Walked out the door, turned toward the guy, still off to the side of the entrance and said, "Here's a cigarette."
As he took it he said, "Thanks. Here's fifty cents," and reached his other hand out to me.
"Oh no; no money," I said as I turned toward my car. He thanked me again and quickly disappeared down the street.
I don't know why that man needed a smoke. Maybe he'd lost his wallet. But I'm glad I extended a bit of kindness, even though making that personal connection involved nasty nicotine. I'm glad I did it, just as much as I hope he will find it in him to quit smoking right soon.