The Old Man and His Red Wagon

Ever have one of those 24 hour periods where you just know the world has gone crazy? 

Maybe it’s me who has gone crazy and the rest of the world is sane.

I’m just projecting my internal cuckoo clock on others.

~

In the past 24 hours I’ve been running in to crazy, stupid and a combination of both. I know the moon has been full and the thunderstorms drive some mad. Throw in some heat and firework kabooms and you have a good mixture of nut job juice.

I don’t have time to write about them all, let’s just say there is quite a few. But I want to share at least this one.

 

The Old Man & the Red Wagon

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So a few months ago an older gentleman came into the store and asked if he could leave his vacuum with us until he could return and pick it up.

Yes, you just read that right.  As it is common for someone to be traveling down the road with a vacuum, then stop in an ice cream store to park it until he could find a ride. . Being the nice person I am and after realizing that he meant no harm, but seemed to be just be “out of it” a wee bit, I agreed. We placed it in the corner and as promised, her returned an hour later to pick it up.

Picture last night around 5pmish. We are busy since we are the only crazy ones open in town and they cancelled the town’s festivities due to the earlier rain. In walks our vacuum friend asking if he can leave some “boxes” for an hour or two until he could return. Only this time, his hand is bleeding as well. My employee calls me over to make this executive decision.

We step outside so I could “investigate” these boxes and determine if I should can help him. Turns out they aren’t boxes, but rather kitchen trash cans. Not one, but two.

He stated he was trying to take them home but he fell off his bike (hence why his hand was bleeding – by the way, he declined our offer of a band-aid). He just wanted to know if we would watch them until he found a ride or could return with his wagon.

Now, please realize these weren’t clean trash cans. No, they had dirty trash bags and stuff hiding under a pillow of some sort. I know there is no way I can have them inside my lobby and he even realizes this. I offer to let him keep them off to the side up front but he doesn’t feel comfortable and asks about the side of the building. But as he is doing this, he is announcing rather loudly (unintentionally) that he is worried someone will steal his valuables inside. At this point you can only imagine my imagination wondering what these “valuables” were.

But here lies my next problem. He is saying this loud enough for all these kids (some are local punks) outside to hear. And I just know the minute he walks off, the promise of riches inside these cans will take over and they will be jacked before he gets around the corner.

Being the nice person I am once again, and once again knowing how honest he seems to be, (and the fact that the deck is missing a card or two) I tell him to bring them around back and I’ll put them just inside my door until he returns.

These cans are extremely heavy. So now I’m really curious as to the “valuable” things inside. We place them inside and he begins to rummage through them as if he is taking a mental picture and creating an inventory list of the contents.

Under the old kid pillow were a bunch of books and bottles of old beer. Yep, his valuable haul was for a quiet evening drinking and reading. He must have noticed the look on my face (actually I’m holding back giggles) and starts to tell me someone gave them to him.  Yes, because people always give an older man on a bicycle two loaded kitchen trash cans of books and beer to ride home miles away. Happens all the time…..

I smile and say that was nice of them (can you say dumpster diving?) I let him know I will be there for a few more hours and just come to the front when he gets back. He then tells me how he will be lucky to find a ride since he is sure his neighbors are all drunk.  LOL.

I let him know that if he can’t get back in time, I’ll just place them out back for him. He reassured me he will be back shortly (Panicked I’m sure that I will help myself to the stash).

As promised, a little while later he returns with…. Yep, his red wagon.

I tell him I’ll meet him out back and when I open the door I notice his hands are behind his back. Red wagon at his side. Odd, but ok.

Then he asks…“There are three of you here right now right?” ….

Me..“Excuse me?”  as now I realize I might have a crazy man at my backdoor deciding if he has at least 3 bullets in his gun.  Or even a tougher question, can he take out three girls at his spry 78 years of youth.

He repeats the question and I say yes. He then pulls his hands from behind his back (me ready to trip him if needed) and with a big smile…he presents me with 3 melting Hershey’s Chocolate bars.

Stop laughing……

Ok, to make a long story short (Too late) I take the chocolate (I can’t be a rude hostess) and offer to help him with his precious cargo. He takes the first one, then pulls the pillow off to “show me” what he has (More like check off his inventory list to see if the ice cream lady snagged a beer or book or both).

He then proceeds to tell me how this neighbor was drunk and couldn’t drive him and the other neighbor had a few business calls to return (on the 4th of July at 7pm) and it might be awhile before he could take him. So my new friend went to his other neighbor to borrow the red wagon. And here he is now was as promised, dragging his wagon the 7 miles from where he lives.

This man is definitely entertaining.

I can hear them needing me upfront but I hate rushing my new friend but alas I must bring this fun to an end. I watch as he loads his treasure chests on his red radio flyer and heads off into the sunset.

I picture him curling up with one of the school textbooks (yes, that’s what the two I saw were) and the beer I had never have heard of before and settling in for night of fireworks and light reading.

This is 100% true and no embellishing was needed. This is just one of many strange things to happen to me in the past 24 hours. But I promise, none were as entertaining as my new friend with the red wagon.

I can only imagine what the next 24 hours might have in store. Life is full of moments that make us smile or laugh. (Even when we want to strangle the stupid people)

~~~till we laugh again~~

28 thoughts on “The Old Man and His Red Wagon

  1. terry1954

    that you opened your heart to a stranger, who had everything he valued in two trash cans, all i can say is you are a kind woman, and someone he will always treasure and never forget. thank you for helping the less fortunate

    1. Tammy @ LaughingAtEverydayLife

      We also have an older woman who roams the town, cleaning out all the cans that people toss. For years she has done this, even when it is 115 outside. People use to think she was homeless until the local paper did an article and said she lived with her son.

  2. chlost

    AAAWwww-that is so sweet. No pun intended. He may be a little short of a deck, but not manners. He had no other way to thank you. I love this story. People are just people, after all.

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