The pharmacist handed Nancy her prescription, apologized for the wait, and explained that his register had already closed. He asked if she would mind using the register at the front of the store.
Nancy told him not to worry and walked up front, where one person was in line ahead of her, a little girl no more than seven, with a bottle of Children’s Motrin on the counter. She clenched a little green and white striped coin purse closely to her chest.
The purse reminded Nancy of the days when, as a child, she played dress-up in her grandma’s closet. She’d march around the house in oversized clothes, drenched in costume jewelry and hats and scarves, talking “grownup talk” to anyone who would listen. She remembered the thrill one day when she gave a pretend dollar to her father, and he handed back some real coins for her to put into her special purse. “Keep the change!” he told her with a wink.
Now the clerk rang up the little girl’s medicine, while she shakily pulled out a coupon, a dollar bill and some coins. Nancy watched her blush as she tried to count her money, and Nancy could see right away that the little girl was about a dollar short. With a quick wink to the checker, Nancy slipped a dollar bill onto the counter and signaled the clerk to ring up the sale. The child scooped her uncounted change into her coin purse, grabbed her package and scurried out the door.
As Nancy headed to her car, she felt a tug on her shirt. There was the girl, looking up at her. She gave Nancy a grin, wrapped her arms around Nancy’s legs for a long moment then stretched out her little hand. It was full of coins. “Thank you,” she whispered.
“That’s okay,” Nancy answered with a smile and winked, “Keep the change!”