Posted by: johnhourihan | November 17, 2013

Karma just keeps coming around


I love it when children learn about karma.
Lin and I were enjoying our monthly breakfast out. As recent retirees who hadn’t yet figured out this new way of life, we got to go out for breakfast on the day the check came. It was a sort of celebration that we made it through another month.
In the booth across from us was a little girl, her mother and her mother’s mother. A girls’ morning out, three generations.
As we enjoyed the little girl who had refused to take off her bright pink coat with white fur lining in the hood, she stood up on the seat, and looking past her grandmother at the brightly lit, multi-colored vending machine game in the corner, she announced, “Whale!”
The parents kept talking and she echoed, “Whale, whale.”
We all turned to see what she was looking at. In the vending machine was a giant claw hanging in the center, a pile of stuffed animals beneath it, and a sign that said “A PRIZE EVERY TIME.”
“Whale!”
Her mother picked her up, set her in the floor and marched her to the machine. They worked the claw down into the pile of animals and came up with an elephant, dropped it into the center chute and marched back to their booth with the stuffed elephant clutched to her body.
As they returned to their booth they passed a table of four young people, late teens, two girls, two boys. They smiled and watched her pass as they ate.
When the girl got back to her chair she sat down dejected and softly said, “whale.”
Her mother explained that “We can’t always get what we want,” quoting, I suppose, the Rolling Stones.
Lin and I continued to watch the little girl.
She had been so happy a few minutes ago, and now she sat solemnly clutching her elephant that was gray and soft and not a whale.
Quietly, one of the young men at the next table had gotten up and went to the machine.
He played for a while, then one of the girls went to join him, then the others. I noticed that as they played, their breakfast sat unfinished..
A short time later the teens walked back past their own table and handed the little girl a stuffed whale.
Karma is a beautiful thing, and I love it when you get a chance to see young people learn about it first hand.
When the waitress came to our table we asked how much the breakfast at the teen table would come to. It was within our budget, so we paid it.
When the youngsters finished breakfast and came to our table to thank us, we told them that what they did had not gone unnoticed.
“What goes around really does come around,” I said. “It’s called karma.”
I love it when young people see first-hand that being good to people for no apparent reason is the way to go.

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