Parking Lot Therapy

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Parking Lot Therapy

By R.J.Harrigan


Today I had conflicted emotions, so I just needed to write. A shopping cart changed me. I was at the grocery store picking up a few things. I believe I got some sparkling water, some oats, and an energy drink. Needless to say, it was a quick shop. I finished paying and headed outside to the parking lot. My car wasn’t far away so I could see it almost immediately after exiting the store. I saw the last seconds of a man moving his cart that he just unloaded into his truck, in front of my car that was parked in the next spot over. My immediate thought was, “Are you fucking kidding me guy?” I couldn’t wait to tell him off.

I picked up the pace to reach him before he got into his truck and drove away. After placing the cart in front of my car, he walked around to the passenger side of his truck and opened the door. He proceeded to gently assist a very short, extremely old woman into the truck.

My anger subsided. I felt guilt.

This man had no idea that I was approaching with the full intent to ruin his day over a shopping cart. He didn’t know that the car next to his was mine. Granted, the cart corral wasn’t far from his truck but I’m sure that leaving his cart there wasn’t malicious and he was more concerned with getting the elderly lady into the truck.

I’m bothered by my initial reaction. Why did I feel such anger over something so silly? I wasn’t having a bad day or anything, but in that moment, I felt disrespected. It is so easy to get caught up in our own lives and become oblivious to those around us. I’ll never know if that man is a habitual cart-leaver or not, but what I do know is that he is the type of guy who will help an elderly woman into a vehicle, which is a much better quality to possess. I am the type of guy who will always return the cart to the corral, or the store if I’m close, but I’ve never helped any old ladies into any vehicles.

A misplaced shopping cart sent me on this journey of self-reflection, all in the span of 30 seconds, so by the time I reached my car, I did what I thought was right and returned his cart to the corral for him.

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