The first thing I noticed was the flip flops. I had to pick something up at the library and decided to poke my head in at the laundromat. It’s a pretty cheerless place and I was hoping to brighten someone’s day.

A boy of 12 or 13 was at the machine getting change, then he and his mother were piling clothes into a dryer. He was wearing flip flops. I did have to admit, the long underwear I had put on before leaving the house probably was overkill.

There were a few people in the laundromat, mostly older women by themselves. One guy on a cell phone, with a surprisingly deep voice. My eyes kept going back to the woman and boy and eventually I got close enough to talk with them. “Laundry day, hunh?” I asked the boy. He nodded, then his Mom explained that their dryer was broken. “So, at least we could wash the clothes at home.” She had beautiful pale blue-green eyes and I saw that the boy’s were almost identical.

For some reason, I told the woman I had a favor to ask her. I wasn’t planning on that; it just came out that way. I’ve been thinking a lot about how grateful I am to all the people who have accepted my gifts, so it kind of made sense. Anyway, she looked me in the eye and said, “Sure. I’ll see what I can do to help.”

I told her my mother had passed away last spring and I was honoring her by giving gifts to strangers. I asked if she would accept a gift. “What kind of gift?” she asked. “It’s money,” I told her. She paused. “Interesting.”

“Here, this is for you.” I put the C-note in her hand. “You can do whatever you like with it.” She looked at the bill and said, “Oh, my.”  Then her eyes welled up with tears. “My husband passed away last spring, too. So I know what you’re going through.” She reached out and gave me a big hug. “Thank you so much.”

The woman told me that her husband had died suddenly of a brain tumor at age 41. He had been a wonderful father and husband, and their lives were filled with blessings. They helped a lot of others and never imagined they would be on the receiving end of others’ kindness and generosity. Without the family’s sole provider, life was hard. “I never thought it would be us.”

It’s just the two of them now. They’re doing the best they can, which is mostly pretty fine. I told them I was sorry. I told the boy I know what it’s like to have a wonderful dad and then lose him. It’s so hard.

They didn’t want their pictures taken and I’ve decided not to use their names. As I said goodbye, they were checking on their clothes. The mom reached into the dryer and I could almost feel the warm soggy clothes on my own fingertips. “Nope,” she said to the boy. “Not even close.”

Laundry day

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3 Responses to Blue-Green Eyes at the Laundromat

  1. Pru McDonald says:

    Perfect, Jill, absolutely PERFECT! Made my day! Pru

  2. Fred says:

    I want to do this someday!! bless people who need it. Forget the fancy cars and boats. I want to help people who need it!1

  3. Tina says:

    Hopefully, one of these days, I could follow her foot step. Couldn’t stop tearing up when I read through these stories. How in the world there are people doing this for “stranger”? So real.

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