Every day brings more news of the COVID-19 pandemic and the fear generated by media and politicians alike. We’re taking a break from our usual political analysis to share stories from our gun-owning brotherhood and sisterhood.
Contrary to the vile lies the antis spread about us, our community is filled to the brim with honourable, kind and caring people. We’re also a generous lot in times of trouble. When someone reaches out and asks for assistance, we are often at the front of the line helping our neighbours when they need it most.
These aren’t things we talk about very often because for our community, this behaviour is simply normal. It’s nothing to raise an eyebrow over.
It’s what we do. It’s how we live our lives.
Last week, Jennifer, a nurse and gun owner in the Peterborough area, stood in the checkout line to pay for her groceries. In front of her was a young woman in her twenties, six children in tow. She did her best to wrangle the children as she went through the till.
“I’m sorry, Ma’am,” the clerk said as she pulled two items off the line in front of her. “The store has a strict limit of one loaf of bread and one bag of milk per customer.”
“But Miss,” the young mother said, “I have six kids. Look at them. One loaf of bread and one bag of milk won’t get us through the day.”
Exasperation practically dripped from every word.
“I’m truly sorry, my store manager gave us strict orders, no exceptions.” The clerk looked genuinely upset, but still removed the items and put them on the restocking counter behind her.
“Just give them to me,” Jennifer said to the clerk as she held out her hands and motioned for the goods. “I’ll pay for them.”
“Are you sure?” the clerk asked.
“Absolutely. I’m not buying bread or milk today. Just give them to me, and I’ll buy them.”
Tears welled up in the young woman’s eyes.
“Thank you! Thank you so much, but I was buying everything on my debit card. I only have five dollars in cash.”
“Honey,” Jennifer said, looking at the children. “You have enough going on. A loaf of bread and a bag of milk aren’t going to break me, I promise you.”
When the young woman tried to pay her, Jennifer refused the money. The young woman and her children left with her groceries.
“That was very kind of you,” the clerk said.
“Just helping out where I can.”
When Jennifer got home and unpacked her groceries, she discovered the young mother managed to hide her last five-dollar bill in one of Jennifer’s grocery bags.
Terry is a gun owner and truck driver from the Toronto area.
On Thursday evening he stopped to buy some groceries on the way home from a long day of work.
As he waited patiently in line, he saw a 90-year-old woman with her elderly daughter in front of him. Terry noted the pin on the old woman’s lapel.
The old woman looked frail and overwhelmed. Her shoulders rose a little higher with each short, sharp breath she took as the clerk rang up their goods and the subtotal grew higher. Her daughter did her best to ease her mother’s anxiety.
“That will be seventy-nine dollars and forty cents please,” the cashier said. “Will that be cash or credit?”
The elderly woman opened her wallet and held up her bank card.
“Debit,” she replied.
She tapped her card on the machine. Nothing happened. She tried again. Still nothing.
“Maybe try inserting the card,” the clerk offered.
She placed the card in the reader and typed in her passcode. Still nothing.
“I… I don’t understand why it’s not working.”
The old woman’s anxiety now threatened to blossom into full-blown panic. She put the card down and grabbed her wallet, then pulled out a few small bills – not nearly enough to pay for everything. The old woman’s hands trembled as she dug deeper into her purse, pulling out all the change she could find. Her daughter did the same in her purse.
“We can remove a few items and see where that gets us,” the clerk said. “What do you think you can do without?”
Terry looked over the goods the elderly woman wanted to buy. Basic items.
Nothing frivolous. He swallowed a lump in his throat while he watched the old woman struggle with the decision of what to leave behind.
“Can we leave it here until the morning and pay for it then?” she asked, her voice crackling with anxiety.
“I’m sorry but I can’t do that. The health department doesn’t allow us.”
The old woman’s shoulders dropped in defeat. Her trembling hands wandered over the goods in front of her. Finally, she pulled two items and handed them to the clerk.
“What else?” the clerk prodded gently.
Her daughter pushed two packages of spaghetti, two cans of tomato paste and a can of tomato sauce toward the clerk. She removed them from the bill as well.
That’s enough, Terry said to himself.
“Excuse me,” he said to the clerk. “I’ll pay for it. Just add it to my bill, please.”
The old woman turned to him, hardly believing what she had just heard.
“You’re an angel. Bless you, young man,” she said.
“Nobody’s called me a young man in a long time, but thank you,” Terry said. He pointed at the military pin on her overcoat.
“Are you a veteran?”
She shook her head. “My husband. He’s been gone a long time. It’s just me now.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” he said.
The daughter caught Terry’s attention.
“Are you sure?” she asked, pointing at her mother’s groceries.
When the elderly woman and her daughter finished bagging their groceries, she turned to Terry. Her hands gripped the small wad of found cash tightly as she pushed it toward him.
“Here,” she said. “It’s all I have with me, but please take it.”
“Thank you, but no. I would be honoured if you would consider it a small thank you for your husband’s service.”
“I appreciate that, young man, but I’m not looking for a handout. Besides, you’ve been very kind already.”
Terry held out his open palm and she placed the worn bills into his hands.
“Bless you, son. Have a wonderful evening and thank you again.”
If you would like to share your story of a random act of kindness, please use visit this page: https://cssa-cila.org/gun-owners-random-acts-of-kindness/