My feet were hurting like crazy, but I dragged myself downstairs anyway.
Most night nurses eat around midnight or so, but my patients were pretty sick and kept me hustlin’. When I finally had a free moment to take my ‘lunch’ break, it was already 5 a.m.
The cashier bagged my bagel and began to rang my order up.
I handed him my card.
But it didn’t work.
“Your hospital dining card was deactivated,” he said, shaking his head.
Uhhh… “What?” I asked, as if I didn’t hear him clearly. This had never happened to me before.
“It’s not working.” He shook his head again, after attempting 3 times. “Do you have cash or credit?”
I froze. I left my wallet at home, completely unprepared for such a predicament. “I got nothin’.”
He stood there, quiet. Like he knew he had other customers to assist, but he didn’t want to be rude and tell me to leave, either.
“Well, I guess I’ll leave my bagel here and I’ll go upstairs to ask my coworkers if I can borrow cash,” I suggested, tip toeing backwards.
Then, someone interrupted. “It’s okay, I got it,” said a voice from behind.
I hadn’t even realized a line had formed. They all heard that interaction? So embarrassing. “Oh, no really, it’s okay,” I tried to decline.
He was next in line, and already had his credit card in hand. He walked toward the counter and quickly handed it to the cashier. “No worries. It’s happened to me before. It’s no big deal,” he reassured me.
“$1.49,” the cashier repeated, swiping his card. My bagel was paid for.
“Aww, thanks so much…” I didn’t know how to express my gratitude. I hadn’t expected a stranger to pay such a kind gesture, at a time when I needed it the most. But I didn’t want to make a big scene about it, because he probably wasn’t looking for that either.
To the patient or patient’s family member visiting the hospital and standing behind me at 5 a.m…
this tired nurse dearly thanks you.