Compassion at Suds
The other day, I was at Suds, our local laundromat that has an insatiable appetite for quarters, in order to wash all our bathroom rugs that are too heavy for our small washer.
As usual, the place was busy, but one young woman and her slender little daughter, drew my attention as they were methodically going about their family laundry in such a beautiful unified dance together.
My washing cycle done, I loaded it all into the huge maw of a waiting dryer and began pushing quarters into the slot ad pushing the start button. Nothing happened. I checked the door, yes, it was closed. But the machine was showing that it needed additional quarters. OK, put in another, pushed the Start. Still no action. Put in another coin. Thinking that I may have missed a step, I started over. My frustration began to build—”stupid machine, etc!”
Went out to ask for help from the lady in charge, who was busy making ice cream cones for other customers. Came back to the still silent dryer that read “Deposit quarters here”, but it wouldn’t even let me put in another quarter! If you kick a wall of dryers, will the darn thing shape up?
The girl who had been helping her mother walked over and stood beside me, looked up and said, in her little girl’s voice, “Can I help?” So I explained my problem. She nodded, reached up and twiddled some knobs. Quarters gushed out of the slot, raining down, spinning noisily across the floor! The noise they made competed with the roar of a suddenly rotating dryer! We both scrabbled to pick them all up. The girl’s mother came over, laughing at us. The Suds manager came to see if she could help. I said, “No, everything’s fine, this young lady has solved the problem. ”
Then I asked my saviour her name and what grade she was in. “I’m in second now, but I’ll be in third grade pretty soon.” Then she tuned to look at the dryer and said that it was only going to run for ten minutes, and did I want to put a couple of quarters in for longer? And would you like me to put them in for you as it’s pretty tight.”
“Please”, I replied, and handed her two quarters. Her slim small fingers adroitly dropped the coins in. The dryer hummed. We smiled at each other. Her mother beckoned, and they were gone. Alas, I had not had time to offer her an ice cream cone!
I’ve thought often since then, of this young girl’s quick compassion for a
stranger in trouble at Suds.
-Ka Wyn Berry