Time passes. Seasons come and go, spring always arriving in the nick of time. Neighbors move; trees get planted and grow tall. Children move out, then sometimes back in. Before you know it, your driver’s license needs to be renewed.

My old driver's license photo - definitely outdated!

Every so often, you have to show up with your paperwork and get a new photo taken. My time had come. I stopped at the DMV Express at Lloyd Center today, not knowing if the hour I had would be enough. I seem to remember an epic line last time.

There were only a couple of people queued up when I arrived. The forms were very conveniently displayed, and a counter available so you can actually fill out the papers while you wait in line. A couple of us were marveling at the friendliness of this setup when a guy in a wheelchair pulled in right behind me.

“Oh, they do a great job here. This is the best office in town,” he said. We started chatting about the line and the guy said it would probably get real busy later. “We just got lucky,” he said.

“It’s our lucky day! Maybe we should buy a lottery ticket today,” I joked. The guy said that he would like to win $100 million. I said I thought that was excessive; what could you spend all that money on? He said he wanted enough to live on a boat and we decided $10 million would be enough, considering all the staff he would need and the second smaller boat for short trips. A woman in the line got involved and reminded us that the government would take half in taxes. The guy said that his wife would want to give a few million away “for scholarships and stuff. So, I better win extra just to end up with my ten.”

“How about you?” he asked, looking me in the eye. “What would you do with $10 million?” I thought a minute and said I would probably freak out. “Really, how could you spend that much money?” I asked. He agreed, saying that there is only so much time in the day no matter what. “So, if you buy a bunch of toys, you can’t even play with them all.”

I was thinking how fun it would be to surprise this man with $100 when my turn came. I wasn’t at the counter long, and then was sent to wait in a chair till someone could take my picture.

The view from my chair

The man was called forward and I heard his voice rise a little. He had a friend with him who was asking questions as well and they seemed a little agitated. I planned to catch them as they left, but just as they were finishing up I got called forward again.

It took only a minute for my picture to be taken. I ran outside looking for the guy. He was nowhere in sight. How could two men in wheelchairs have moved so fast? But they had. They were gone.

The whole thing had taken under 30 minutes so I had time to duck into Sears for another errand. As I was taking care of my business, I kept running across a man and his little girl of about three. I watched her dance around him as he patiently explained where they were going next.

“Here?” she asked, near the Down escalator. “No, we’re going outside,” he said. “Here?” she asked, near the Up escalator. He laughed, and so did I.

I’m partial to Dads and little girls. My own Dad was such a great guy and I still miss him a lot after all these years. He had no hair, either.

Marty and Isa

I asked the man if I could have a word with him and doubt skittered across his face. I told him I wanted to give him something and pulled the $100 bill from my pocket. He just stared at it and said, “Now, why would you want to do that? Is this something you do often?” I told him just a little about giving away hundreds in honor of my mom.

“It’s kind of a pay-it-forward thing,” I said. He reached out and took the bill. “Wow, thank you. But are you sure you want to give this to us? We’re not poor.” He smiled. “But we are unemployed.” Then he stuck his hand out and said his name was Marty. He said I could take a picture of him and his daughter, Isa (short for Isabella). He thanked me again, then took her hand and headed for the exit.

Time passes. Little girls grow up. Little girls like Isa.

And me.



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3 Responses to Little Girls Like Isa

  1. Renee says:

    You’re beautiful, Jill.

  2. Douglas says:

    I agree with Renee, Jill. You’re an extraordinarily attractive woman.

    I’ve been thinking of David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech about choosing what we worship (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122178211966454607.html). That freedom of attention, awareness, love, and gratitude: that IS Hundreds of Hundreds. God bless you, Jill Gillsberg.

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