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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Groceries - deadline 8-23-12 10 am NY time (08/16/12)

TITLE: A Bell is Not a Bell Till you Ring it..


Reba had just finished shopping for groceries around 10 in the morning and was traveling home. Every Tuesday she shopped for groceries and every Tuesday she came home with just a little more than what she had on her grocery list. At 42, Reba was an assistant manager at a local bank and because she had seniority, she was always given the privilege of shopping on Tuesday from 9:00 until 10:00 and that was a privilege few people had at Bank One Savings and Loan, or anywhere else in that area.

Traveling to her small condo, she thought about her husband, Fred. Fred was owner and operator of Fred’s Automotive Parts on Cheshire Road. Because they both worked long hours, they seldom saw each other except at supper and on the weekends.

As she drove into the driveway, she was happy that the grocery shopping was over. She was tired and weary of dodging rude customers at Felton’s Grocery Mart. It was always the same; stressful, tiring and with too many choices. Now, at home, she had to put the groceries away and get back to work.

As she began to unload the groceries and put them away, she noticed something odd about some of the purchases. Two of the purchases did not belong to Reba. One was a toy for a small boy and another was a toy for a little girl. How did they get into her shopping bags? She made a frown as she looked at the toys because that would mean a trip back to the store and go through the hassle of getting a refund. She looked at her sales slip and noticed that she indeed did pay for them.

“Now, I remember!” There was a family ahead of me who had two children. They looked poor and she noticed that the mother was using food stamps to pay for the food. Somehow, the toys must have spilled over on to her stuff.

“Well, it’s back to the store and I’m going to be late for work! Maybe, I should just forget it. After all, I’m going to be late and I could give these items to my niece and nephew.”

As she thought about what to do, she recalled life lessons she learned from the Bible. Of course, one of the main themes of the Bible was honesty. Could she live with herself, knowing that somewhere out there was a little boy and a little girl who would not have the joy of playing with these toys?

She decided to take them back but before doing that, she made a call to the bank and said that she would be late.

“No problem. You can make it up tomorrow.” Shelia, one of the bank employees was usually understanding and that certainly helped.

As she opened the door to the grocery store, she saw the same woman, standing with her children at the end of the aisle.

“Hi! You don’t know me but I’m Reba Goodale and somehow your toys got into my groceries. I’m so glad you’re here because I know your children were missing them.”

The woman looked sad and worn but she replied in a whisper, “Thank you so much but I’m afraid Jeff, my son, put them in by mistake. I can’t take them. I’m low on money right now. The only reason I stayed was to see that you got a refund for them.”

Reba was taken aback at first but then replied, “Oh, that’s alright. That’s happened to me, too. Here, take them. They didn’t cost that much.”

The woman looked like she was going to cry but said, “Thank you so much. You don’t know what this means to me.”

She took the gifts and gave them to the children. The smiles on their faces made Reba smile and tears began forming in her eyes.

As the woman and children began to leave, Reba was glad that she gave the toys to the children and remembered words from a song that went,

“A bell is not a bell till you ring it; a song is not a song till you sing it. Love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay. Love isn’t love, till you give it away….”

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This article has been read 368 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 08/23/12
Sweet, loving and touched my heart. I loved loved loved the last paragraph.

Great job. Thanks.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/25/12
I really enjoyed this story. I think the characters were well-developed and it had a fresh appeal to it.

I did question a bit about how if the lady was ahead of her in the line and the MC went home and back to the store that the lady would still be there. I know you explained it but I still struggled with it a bit. Perhaps if you had deleted that first paragraph (though it was interesting, it wasn't vital to the story) and instead expand a bit on the grocery trip. For example, perhaps she could have thought the bill was a tad high and checked it in the parking lot.

Even though that one part made me pause for a second it didn't subtract from the heart of the story. I know God orchestrates things like this all the time and often people are in too much of a rush to even notice. That's what I really liked about your story is it does make the reader stop and think. You did a great job of coming up with a unique story for the topic. It was a delight to read and a good reminder to take time to minister to the poor and hungry as Jesus commanded all those years ago. You have a natural talent and I'm eager to read more of your work.
Vicki J. Cypcar08/28/12
Great message and I love the ending!
Mildred Sheldon08/29/12
I absolutely loved this. It was very touching and the ending was perfect.