Black Friday yields unlikely present
Last year, while still digesting the second round of the Thanksgiving feast I had devoured just hours before, I stood patiently in a line nearly the length of a football field. It was Black Friday and the discounts offered at Toys R Us enticed a throng of shoppers including my sister and me. Why hadn’t I remembered how cold it was the previous year? My legs grew numb in the cold night air as we slowly inched closer to the entrance.
I’ve seen the headlines. Man trampled as customers rush the door — worker killed in Black Friday stampede. Big sales somehow seem to bring out the worst in everyone. But that’s never been my experience. Relatively new to the Black Friday tradition, my sister and I have been blessed to get stuck in line with interesting people who have regaled us with tales of their past Black Friday expeditions and been generous enough to share their shopping strategies. This year was no different.
We were talking to a man who had been suckered into line by his girlfriend who was tucked away nicely in a warm bed whilst he, like we, stood on the verge of hypothermia, in the hopes of bringing home a train set that would make Santa, not him, look like his little boy’s hero. The Christmas spirit seemed to abound. One Church’s youth group was out in full affect, offering hot chocolate to warm those of us nearly frozen to death. They asked for donations — if you had it, which I knew I did.
I reached in my pocket. Anxiety swept over me setting my frigid face ablaze. I knew I had it. I was holding it in my pocket before I got the bright idea to pull my sleeves down to cover my hands like gloves. I checked every pocket at least three times — I had been pick-pocketed.
The only person close enough to me had been the man. Could it be? I walked back to the end of the line scanning the ground, asking, “Have you seen a pink wallet?” I was in a panic! All my credit cards, my ID and several hundred dollars in cash — gone. After searching the car and exhausting my options, I dashed home considering the possibility that I had somehow forgotten my wallet, although I knew I hadn’t. I zoomed through the desolate highway abandoning speed limits, completely disregarding the fact that my license was — gone.
It wasn’t at home. I called to cancel my debit card; the others would have to wait. It was Black Friday and although my wallet was gone Christmas shopping still had to be done. I wangled my husband’s card from him and headed back out.
My sister had made it in and I was left to face the bitter cold for another hour alone. When I finally made it in, I approached customer service my last possible and highly improbable resort. I asked, “Has anyone turned in a pink wallet?” She turned to the drawer behind her and retrieved a pretty pink wallet proclaiming “Someone’s looking after you.”
I had not been pick-pocketed after all. And not a penny was gone. Those awful headlines did not apply to me. It was that cold Black Friday morning when I was reminded of the Christmas spirit and — people are often far better than we think.