Big Heart

Big Heart

From A 6th Bowl of Chicken Soup for the Soul

Big Heart

I’m a flight attendant for a major airline. One afternoon while running through LAX to my plane, I tore one of my nylon stockings. It was a really bad tear, and I wasn’t carrying another pair with me. Fortunately, there was a convenience store in the terminal that was close to my gate where I knew I could buy a new pair. However, to my surprise, as I waited in line at the sales register, I discovered that I had no money in my purse.

I thought to myself that maybe the store manager would sell me a pair of four-dollar nylons and let me pay her back the next time I saw her. I’ve been inside her store a lot, and she always smiles and is friendly to me, even though we’ve never been introduced. When it was my turn to pay, I showed her my leg and explained that I had no money on me. And that I was desperate. She laughed and simply said, “Take them.”

Well, for whatever reason, two months passed, and I still had not paid the manager back the money I owed her.

Then one day at work before my flight departed, I was busy doing my usual preflight preparations when a passenger asked me for a newspaper. There was no paper on the plane to give him. He then asked me if I wouldn’t mind going into the terminal to buy him one. I said, “Sure,” and he handed me a quarter.

I deplaned and walked to the same convenience store. Before I entered the store, I noticed the manager was there. I was too embarrassed to go inside because I had never paid her back, and I wasn’t carrying my wallet.

So, I decided that I would just stand outside the store and flag down the first person I saw and ask him or her to buy me a paper.

A giant of a man with a friendly face approached. Before he could walk past me, I stopped him and asked if he would buy me a newspaper. He smiled and said that he would do so gladly but wanted to know why I couldn’t do it myself. I told him that I was too embarrassed to tell anyone the reason. He was rather jovial and kept saying, “Aw, come on, tell me. Surely it isn’t that bad.” I liked him. There was something very sweet and gentle about him. I needed a newspaper, so I gave in and told him.

Suddenly he said, “Hold on,” and in one fell swoop whisked me up into his arms and carried me into the store, right over to the counter where the manager was. I was laughing the whole way. With his free hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a five-dollar bill and said, “I’d like to pay for the nylons this person owes you for and for a newspaper.”

I later learned that the big, gentle man was Rosie Grier, the former L. A. Ram and Hall of Fame football player.

Heather Bull

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