Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: TRAVELER (01/28/16)
- TITLE: Heart Profit
By Karen Dick
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A security guard nodded as iron gates to a promising neighborhood opened. He grinned at the guard as the song loudly played.
“There will be some happy kids today,” smiled the elderly white haired gentleman as he slowly drove the small flatbed truck past him.
Large brick houses with sprawling green lawns greeted him. He sent up a silent prayer that parents would send their children with coins to pay for Popsicles. College tuition was increasing this year, and the goal of $250 a day looked slim. Thankfully, children began trickling out of the front doors and heading his way.
Switching off the music, he encouragingly called, “Does anyone want a Popsicle? Come on over!”
A spontaneous line formed beside his truck with eager young faces looking up at him expectantly. A husky red haired middle school boy was the first in line.
“I want a Shootin’ Tootin’ Rocket Popsicle!” The boy hollered, as he grinned at the children lined up behind him.
He handed the frozen confection to the boy and was happy to receive fifty cents in return. The boy quickly ran off as the next young customer approached. After several excited and satisfied customers exited the source of their joy, one blonde little girl stood alone.
Leaning out of his truck window, he inquired as to what scrumptious and delectable dessert would make her happy on this sunshiny day?
With her big blue eyes peering up at him she asked, “Are you from around here Mr. Popsicle man?”
“No, I’m a traveler. I drive around to sell my Popsicles to kids like you,” he answered, feeling impatient with the question. There were probably many more wealthy neighborhoods awaiting his arrival.
She held a dime up in the palm of her hand. “I want an orange Popsicle please.”
He shook his head and told her that was not enough money. She needed ten more cents for a Popsicle. Tears slowly began to trickle down her pudgy freckled cheeks. His heart squeezed as he looked down at her from the open window.
“Don’t you have another dime?” He gently asked.
“No, it’s all my Daddy gave me,” she whimpered softly.
He gave a big sigh, as he tried to make a decision.
“Ok, why don’t I give you half of a Popsicle, for your dime?”
The little tow headed girl grinned and nodded as she wiped her tears with the back of her fists.
He reached into the dry ice cooler by his feet and pulled out a double orange Popsicle. Breaking it in half, he passed her one half as she stood on tiptoe to hand him her dime. The young girl flashed him a smile, turned, and skipped away down the sidewalk.
Shaking his head he flipped the music switch to on, turned the ignition key, and continued through the neighborhood.
Driving past a park, he noticed a group of boys tossing a football. He hesitated briefly, knowing that playing football today was not in his profit plan, but couldn’t resist and pulled over. Soon he found himself in a game of touch football. The young boys pleaded for him not to leave when it was over, but he knew the day and profits were slipping away.
“If we pool our money together, can you give us some Popsicles?” They asked eagerly.
Since the boys did not have nearly enough money, he knew he would have to pay out of his own pocket, but he found that treating his new friends seemed more important at the moment. Jumping up into his truck and feeling newly energized, he made the decision not to let the responsibility of a job get in the way of being kind to people. No one could put a price tag on that.
Driving out of the neighborhood, and whistling along to the music, he thought about all of the cheerful faces of children he had seen. He wasn’t sure if he had made a monetary profit, but at least in his heart he had.
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