“Mom, can we go and get the laptops now?” Marc asked on the way home.
“We have to go back to the apartment and get these groceries put away.” I replied.
“You don’t have enough money to get both of us laptops Mom, do you?” Rocky asked.
“I wasn’t expecting to buy laptops today… but I’ll figure it out.” I said, having no idea how I was going to make good on that statement.
“Maybe we can just go look around.” I added.
“Look around?” Rocky questioned, “We’re never going to be able to afford them. I’m not going with you.”
“I’m not going.” Kevin stated, “I have a laptop.”
Thankfully, Kevin did have a laptop that his grandparents had bought him for Christmas. I was so grateful for that, especially at this moment, when purchasing two laptops could have meant having to purchase three.
“Well, I’m going.” Marc said, “Everyone in my class has their own laptop, to go on the school portal and do their homework assignments.”
“Well, good luck with that.” Rocky added, “We need laptops, not tablets, and laptops are at least three hundred dollars apiece. I know mom can’t afford that!”
I started to feel sick to my stomach. Rocky was right. I didn’t have six hundred dollars, but I had managed to stash two hundred dollars away, in a hiding place in my room.
We unloaded the groceries from the car and put them away.
“Mom, can we go get the laptops now?” Marc asked.
When Marc gets something in his head, he is relentless, I thought.
Luckily, I also had a little bit of cash left over from grocery shopping. I went and grabbed the two hundred dollars I had hidden, and motioned to Marc, “Let’s go.”
Our first stop was Wal-Mart.
As Rocky had predicted, I couldn’t afford any of the laptops there.
We headed over to Best Buy. Maybe we could find something on sale.
I couldn’t afford anything there either.
Marc looked discouraged.
“Mom, we’re never going to be able to buy two laptops.” He sighed.
“Don’t give up hope yet, Marc!” I said, although I was thinking the same thing. “Let’s go to Job Lot.”
“Okay,” Marc agreed, not wanting to give up hope. “Do you think we can afford something there?”
“We’ll find out.” I said, as we parked the car and entered the store.
All of the electronics were displayed in the front of the store. We stood with our backs to the cash registers, staring at shelves of tablets. They didn’t have any laptops.
“It’s getting late,” I said. “Why don’t we just get two tablets. They’re less expensive and you can do the same things on a tablet that you can on a laptop.”
“They can’t be tablets, Mom.” Marc replied, “Our school said they have to be laptops.”
“Well, not everyone can afford laptops…” I began to say, when from behind me I heard the voice of the cashier…
“Ma’am you’re $36.00 short. Do you have another $36.00?”
I heard a woman’s voice reply, “That’s all I have. I don’t know what I’m going to do, I need this tablet for work tomorrow.”
Without turning around, I pulled $36.00 out of my pocket and passed it over my shoulder to the cashier.
The cashier completed the woman’s transaction, as Marc and I began to argue.
“Mom, why would you do that?” Marc said, raising his voice, “We don’t even have enough money and Rocky and I need laptops for school.”
“Marc, lower your voice.” I instructed, “We’ll get your laptops.”
Angrily, Marc turned and headed towards the exit of the store, as I quickened my pace to catch up with him.
“Marc, wait up!” I yelled.
A woman I had never seen before stood in front of Marc and stopped us both in our tracks… She was crying.
“I just want to thank you for what you did for me.” She said.
I realized it must have been the woman for whom I had just paid off the remainder of her purchase.
“I took the bus here,” she continued, “With the last bit of money that I had. I was homeless, and Wal-Mart was the only store that would take a chance on hiring me, although I didn’t get enough hours. Now I’m starting a new full-time job tomorrow but I need to have my own computer, that’s why I got the tablet.”
“You’re welcome.” I said, as I gave her a hug and she hugged me back tightly, “Good luck with your new job.”
Marc and I walked to the car in silence.
As we drove away, we both looked toward the bus stop. There stood the woman, waiting for a bus, holding the bag containing her new tablet. She looked happy.
Marc was the first to break the silence in the car.
“Mom, that was really nice what you did for that woman,” he said.
“Everything is Karma, Marc. It all comes back to you. Just follow your heart.” I replied.
“Okay, I get it. ” Marc said, “But how are we going to get two laptops?”
An idea popped into my head.
It was a long shot, and we were running out of time before the stores began to close, but I was determined to get my boys their laptops.
We would have to go to a bad section of town…
And it was starting to get dark.
Join me for Part 3,
The School Teacher
As the story continues…