Hello, Beloved Reader …
Yesterday, I had two incredibly eye-opening experiences, both in the local Kroger where I went to pick up a script. You see, I was swimming in mucus and my doctor was kind enough to call in a script for me, saving me a trip to the office.
As I was standing in the pharmacy line, the young lady in front of me was picking up a script for her young son. The Pharmacy Tech rung up the prescription and immediately voided it out, assuming there was an error. She called the pharmacist over to review the order and said very quietly (I think she was hoping the customer wouldn’t hear her)
“There’s an issue with the bar code, it’s ringing up $475”.
The customer calmly responded with “Yes, I know. It’s the cheapest one I can get, and we
don’t have a choice. If he doesn’t have it, he’ll die.”
She paid almost $500 for her son’s prescription and as she was leaving, I felt the need to talk to her.
I explained to her that I didn’t want to intrude, but simply provide a suggestion. I didn’t ask what the script was, nor did I ask her about her son’s illness; honestly, it’s none of my business. I simply suggested that she contact the manufacturer of the prescription and explain to them that her insurance doesn’t appropriately cover the cost, and it’s creating a financial burden for her and her family. She welled up, eyes shining with tears she was trying desperately to hold back.
“I hadn’t even considered that, is that possible?”
“Yes, I’ve told more than one person to try it; the worst that can happen is they say they can’t assist. Most times they can at least help you with some discount coupons, especially for life saving medications.”
“I’m going to call them as soon as I get home, we’re living on beans and rice right now, simply because once the bills are paid, most of the extra money goes to the prescription. It breaks my heart when he asks for something as simple as potato chips and I have to tell him no”
She gave me a hug and said “Even if nothing comes from it, I thank you. Thank you for caring enough about a complete stranger to share this information.”
We finished our quick conversation, and went our separate ways. I couldn’t help but think about this wonderful woman and her sick little boy. How she’s scraping enough money together each month to make sure he lives, and how she can’t even give him a simple treat. It broke my heart and made me thankful for a daughter who’s biggest concern is strep throat, and even more thankful for LLS for providing me with the care I need to survive. I know not everyone is that lucky.
As I was walking away from the pharmacy, an elderly gentleman stopped me.
“Excuse me miss. Who do you know from Vietnam?”
I was a little confused, as I was still thinking of the young mother, and he pointed to the back of my leg. As odd as it sounds, sometimes I forget that others actually LOOK at my tattoos. For those of you who may not know, I have a Navy Seabee and the Vietnam ribbon the back of my calf. I took a deep breath, smiled and responded “My Dad”. It being the anniversary of his death, I really wasn’t up for a big discussion with a stranger about him.
The gentleman reached forward and took my face in his hands. He looked me straight in the eye and said “I don’t know if anyone has ever told you this, but your Dad is a hero. Please thank him for his service for me.” And he hugged me.
I smiled and hugged him back and thanked him for his lovely words. I then high tailed it to the restroom so he wouldn’t see me crying. I didn’t want him to think he’d upset me.
That a total stranger would say such wonderful things about my dad was amazing. It's a nice change of pace from the usual "if you weren't in Vietnam, you shouldn't have the tattoo" reaction I usually get.
I pulled myself together and continued my small amount of shopping. As I was walking towards the register, I saw the young mother buying the few things she was able to get with the funds left after her son’s medication. I grabbed a few cans of Pringles and headed to the check-out; hoping I could catch her before she left the parking lot.
I found her at her car, and handed her the bag containing the Pringles.
“What is this?”
“My gift to you for your son”
“But … but why?”
“Because I can. And because I know what you all are going through. You’re not alone in
your battle. Go give your son his chips and enjoy your afternoon.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“You don’t have to say anything, just promise me to hug him extra today.”
“He won’t stop hugging me if I give him these!”
Another quick hug, and I was into my car driving home. So, one small outing to a store, and my whole day was put into a perspective I would have never imagined.
Remember, when you’re trapped in your own world, worried about everything, look around. Reach out to a stranger and change their day for the better. It’s up to us to make this a world worth living in.