A year or so ago, a woman entered my bakery. It was the week of Mardi Gras and I had baked a few King Cakes. One of which was on display near the register.
The woman was dressed in a dirty dressy dress….almost like a dress a mother of the bride would wear. She came in, looked around, and asked for the manager. I came forth.
Now, Benton is a small town. And by this time, I pretty much knew the “street” folks that were often found down by the Care Center. She was one.
She brushed her hair back from her face. She smoothed out her dress and in the most professional tone she began to tell me that she worked for the KLOVE radio station. She commented on the music that was playing in the background and pointed out correctly that it was KLOVE.
I smiled. It had been just a few weeks before that she came into the bakery. Same story. My heart was breaking. I could feel the stares of my beloved family and staff behind me.
She stated that she was a marketing director at the station and was wondering if I could share a cup of coffee with her. Again, I smiled and politely explained that my attention needed to be on the week’s orders. She sat down to read the newspaper. It was cold outside and her dress wasn’t sheltering her from the cold.
She got up and came back to the counter. She held out her hand and whispered, “Will this be enough for a cup of coffee?” It was three pennies and a nickle. I told her that the coffee was free that day because I was running a Mardi Gras special.
Her eyes lit up like she had won the lottery. She went over to the coffee pot and poured a cup. All the while, I watched her fill her pocket with creamers and sugar. She sat down again with the newspaper.
I watched her from afar. She opened sugar packets and trying not to draw attention to herself, she held her head back and poured the sugar into her opened mouth. Then, she drank the Mini Moo’s creamer. She did so until her pockets were empty.
I had to run back to the kitchen. My daughter wasn’t too far behind me. “Mom, she keeps drinking the creamers. We are almost out.”
“I know. She has been in before. Just don’t fill the creamer basket until she leaves.”
It pained my heart. I wish I could have given her everything in the bakery to eat. My year had started off poorly and I just didn’t have the extra room in the budget to do so.
My employee, whom called me “Mom”, entered the kitchen, “Mom, someone wants to buy the display King Cake. How long has it been on display?”
I went to the storefront and explained to the customer that I could make a fresh one for her. The one on display had been there for three days and was stale. I took the order and said good bye to the customer.
The door hadn’t closed before the dressy dress lady waltzed up to me. I knew exactly what she wanted. I pulled out a cake box and without a word, I placed the King Cake in the box.
“This needs to be thrown out or would you like to have it?” I asked the lady.
She smiled and took the cake. She hurried out into the cold like she had a gift of gold.
Sadly, two days later, the bookstore owner from down the square called me saying a strange lady had left a cake as she fled from the store. She was never seen again to my knowledge.
She had held onto the cake for two days. It had not been touched. My mind can’t wrap itself around the reason for fleeing or more so why she didn’t eat the cake.
I guess I will never know the answer.
A poor man is hated even by his neighbor, but there are many who love the rich. The one who despises his neighbor sins, but whoever shows kindness to the poor will be happy. Proverbs 14:20-21