Make like it’s Aldi

There are few things I dislike more than grocery shopping, but my first trip after the election was surprisingly sweet.

At Aldi, in order to use the carts, shoppers have to insert quarters to free them from a corral. As usual, I had my quarter ready, but was greeted with a wide smile. An elderly black gentleman was manning the carts, and refused to accept my quarter…he made me promise to pay it forward.

Naturally, I agreed.

Inside, there were people from all walks of life, genuine smiles all around. Strangers were helping others reach items from top shelves. Other shoppers let those with armloads cut in line.

On the next visit, I walked up to the cart corral to find a young white man helping an elderly black guy retrieve his quarter. When the older gentleman noticed the slot in the next cart already held a quarter, he handed it to me and said, “It’s not stealing if someone left it for you, right?” I accepted the cart with a smile, and left my own quarter for the next shopper.

Inside, I noticed the same. More smiles. Small acts of kindness.

The third time, the hubs had a quarter ready. With a bright smile, a young black woman refused it. He placed it into the next cart and we went inside.

I don’t think I have to describe what we saw in there.

Last week, few of the carts in the corral were even linked together, and most of them already contained quarters.

Four trips. Same store. All pleasant.

Little things. Genuine smiles, small kindnesses, walking away with a smile from a mundane task I generally have to force myself to do with a positive attitude…


It’s almost like here on our tiny part of the earth, a college town where people from all over the world connect, they’re giving the middle finger to all of those on the internet who, because of politics, are doing their damnedest to convince us we hate each other.

Or not.

But, either way, kindness IS contagious.

Pass it on.