"I said SKINNY latte, punk!"

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. – George Washington Carver

As I slithered from the parking lot into the grocery store, eager to escape the hellacious humidity that defines living in the Bible Belt, all that was on my mind was the delicious iced coffee that would soon be lovingly consumed. I snapped to inside and began my stride across the floor, past the commissioned fish salesman trying to hawk his salmon to my deaf ears, when I realized I nearly cut off an elderly gentleman being pushed in a wheelchair by a store employee towards the Starbucks counter.

She was listening to him gripe about the amount of coffee he wanted put in his cup: THIS much, not THAT much, and HOT but not TOO hot, and why do they always make it so hot and no, I don’t need that much, I need this much, and my back aches.

She listened dutifully, and I pulled aside to let them in front of me; after all, there is a high likelihood that I have more time left on this planet to enjoy coffee than he does, and what the hell, respect has its place.

I hope when I’m old enough to be pushed about in a wheelchair, someone has the patience and kindness to listen to me bitch about the coffee, the state of the Union, those damn kids. I won’t have earned it, any more than this old coot has, that much is certain. But I guess I have enough faith in us as a people that I might merit a push up to a coffee counter.

Thank you, lady, for being that kind of person.