Another new month is here and that means it’s time for First Friday Fiction. My story this month isn’t brand new. It was originally an assignment from my first writing class several years ago. I had to write a short story using a sporting event, a basket, and a car salesman. Although the story has changed from my original two-paragraph assignment, the message remains. I hope you will enjoy “Humbled.”
Two-thirty. He had promised to leave work no later than 1:00. However, a young couple came into the showroom mid-morning. Both said they were “just looking,” but George knew before they left, he would have them in a new car. He’d dealt with the public long enough to know the ones he could persuade.
This sale, along with his others for the month, ensured a nice bonus in addition to his regular commission check. Didn’t Sarah and Tyler realize his reasons for working extra hours? What about the new cars George and Sarah drove? The four-bedroom house with its three-car garage? So what if they didn’t need all that extra space right now? Didn’t they know he did this for them?
He stood up from his desk as a man entered the dealership. Before he reached the showroom floor, another sales associate had already approached. Probably just as well—unless his intuition was wrong, the man would be a hard sell. Let someone else waste their time. He sent a quick text to Sarah to say he was on his way, hurried out the door, and drove away.
In order to make it to Tyler’s little league game George took a shortcut. He disliked this route through one of the poorest sections of town. It reminded him of the neighborhood where he grew up. He didn’t like to think about the past.
At the baseball fields, he parked in a remote spot. He didn’t want anyone banging up his brand new Lexus. By the time he reached the park, the game was in the last inning.
An elderly woman stood near the bleachers. Her faded clothes looked like they might have come from the Goodwill. In her hand was a tattered basket.
She’s probably looking for a handout. George reached in his pocket for his loose change. By no means would he pull out his wallet. Giving a few cents would appease his conscience.
“Here you go, ma’am.” He reached out to drop the change in the basket. Too late, he realized it did not contain money, but two large zip-lock bags of cookies.
“Young man,” the woman said. “I’m not here for a handout. I’m here to give to others.” She handed the money back to him.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know.”
“I may not have much, but I what I do have, I share.”
The game ended, and the players rushed to the woman. “Grandma Sally!”
“Now, now,” she said. “There’s enough cookies for everyone. You take these to your coach and he’ll pass them out to you.”
“Thank you, Grandma Sally.” Several of the players hugged her before joining their coach.
When she turned to leave, she had a smile on her face. She stopped, looked at George, and said. “You see, that’s all the reward I need. You can’t put a price on those smiling young faces.”
George was humbled.