A Needy Soul

One evening, a few weeks before Christmas 1997, my twelve-year old son, Shaun, and I went Christmas shopping at a nearby mall.

At 11:00 p.m., closing time, we headed to the Cash. No one else was around. The Cashier, after checking through our items, said, “Guess what! You guys just won yourself a turkey!”, as she plunked a bagged, frozen turkey down on the counter. My response was, “Really?” It took me by surprise because I knew I had not entered any contest. She explained, “We’re giving away a free turkey every half hour today.”

In the meantime, two ladies had arrived at the Cash and one immediately exclaimed, “Oh, did SHE win the turkey? Oh no! We were hoping to win it!” “Yeah”, said the other, “we came shopping here just because we had heard that you were giving away a free turkey every half hour. We were hoping to win one.” The other lady said, “How do you know when you’re to give away a turkey? Is it at a certain time?” The Cashier responded, “Well, SHE was standing here – the only customer – and my Manager just nodded to me.” “Oh”, she said, “and how big is the turkey?” The Cashier looked at the label and said, “ten pounds.” “Oh”, I responded, “we have six in our family, so that should do us just fine!” The two ladies quipped in, “Oh, that’s a good size.”

I almost felt “guilty” as I picked up the turkey, said good-bye, and started walking away with my parcels. It felt so strange —- leaving with a turkey that the Cashier and the two other ladies had talked about as though it was really theirs.

When my son and I got into our van, I turned to Shaun and said, “I wonder if that woman really NEEDED a turkey for Christmas dinner? You know, Shaun, we’re going to be going to Uncle Paul’s for Christmas and we’ll be having turkey. So we don’t really NEED it. I feel like we should have given it to her.” “Yeah, I wonder if she needed if’, Shaun replied.

In the meantime, I was slowly driving our van through the parking lot. My son said, “Mom, why don’t we turn around and go back. We can still give it to her!” I responded with, “It’s probably too late. They’ve probably left already.” “No, Mom”, he said, “I’m sure they’re still there! I saw…… her shopping cart was loaded with stuff. She’s probably still at the Cash.” “Really?” I responded. “But, Shaun, I’m not sure if I would recognize her.” “Mom”, he said, “they were the only people left in the store!” I laughed and said, “Oh, yeah. I guess you’re right. Okay. Let’s go back and see if they’re still there.”

Sure enough, we turned back and parked the van in front of the main door and the two ladies were just heading out. I rolled down the window and motioned to the lady to come over. “Do you need a turkey for your Christmas dinner?” I asked. “Y-e-s”, she responded rather hesitantly. “Well, here”, I said, as I handed her the turkey-in-a-bag. “You can have it!” She looked so surprised and said, “You mean….. you don’t want it?” “Well”, I responded, “it’s just that we have somewhere to go for Christmas dinner. We’ll be having turkey. So we don’t REALLY need it.” “Oh, wow!”, she cried. “Thank you!” The other lady said excitedly, “There’s the turkey you wanted! That’s the one you wanted!” I said, “Take it. It’s a gift. God bless you!” “Thanks a lot and Merry Christmas to you!” they responded in unison.

As we drove off, Shaun and I were filled with such joy! We were both glad that we had gone back. Earlier, my husband hadn’t been too keen on me taking Shaun to the store so late at night. But now I know why Shaun was meant to come. He was instrumental in convincing me to go back to the store. God had used both of us to bless a “needy soul”. I take no glory for this incident. It was GOD working through Shaun and me. The “blessing” to us was the “joy” it provided for us! We knew it was meant to be! We went home “turkey-less” but “overflowing” with joy and peace in our hearts!