Today I went to the supermarket to pick up just one item — a bottle of household cleaner. Alas, when I got to the checkout line I found myself behind several people who were clearly doing their weekly household shopping, as their shopping carts were all laden high with many items.

The woman at the end of the line saw that I was holding only one item in my hand, pulled her cart back to make a space, and told me I should go in front of her. I thanked her profusely.

The checkout clerk was just finishing up with a customer, so there was now only one heavy shopper in front of me. She too noticed the single item I was holding, and also saw that I was taking out some singles. “You’ve got only one item,” she said, “and you’re paying with cash, so why don’t you go ahead of me?” I thanked her profusely as well, then handed some money to the checkout clerk, got my change, and was all done.

From the time I had gotten on the back of the line, to the time I was ready to walk out the door with my purchase in hand, perhaps one minute had elapsed. And it had been a very pleasant minute.

Who says New Yorkers aren’t nice people?

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