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The Story Behind the Watermelons

July 29th, 2010

On the way to my car, I swung into Goodwill for a quick round of shopping. Although I have way more clothes than I probably need, I pride myself on making ninety percent of my purchases at second-hand shops. Thirty minutes later, I left with a pair of hot pink wedges, a gold pair of Jessica Simpson wedges, a pink and orange plaid top, a black dress and a pair of white pants—for a total of $30. I slipped into my car and strategically pulled my jeans on under my denim skirt, positioned the straps of my dress before doing a quick check to my right and left to make sure I was on my own and then quickly swapped my dress for my plaid top. Finally, I trade my black Paolo wedges for my new hot pink wedges. Perfect, now I could be more comfy for my journey home. Only one small problem. I had to figure out a strategic way to fit my new items into my suitcase. I opened my trunk and hopped in, so I could roll my new clothes and reorganize my already packed items to make room for my ever-expanding wardrobe. I forced the inside zipper shut, swung it closed and then sat on it as I tried to force the outside zipper closed. I was totally involved in what I was doing—so focused that I was completely startled when a man started speaking to me. I looked up and it was the watermelon salesman who had converted his pickup truck into a melon produce market just across the parking lot. “How you doin?” he asked. “My name is Max. Just wanted to see if you needed any melons.” “Where you from?” I imagine I must have been quite a spectacle. Once again, blend-in-inhibiting blonde hair, glow-in-the-dark fair skinned girl; this time chilling out in her trunk. “Hey Max. I’ll be right over to take a look at your melons and maybe I’ll grab a quick interview with you,” I said. It was serendipitous kind of a day. I had a little bit of time before my flight, so I thought I’d just see what the universe had in store for me that day.

Max was a Real Estate guy before the economy crashed and now he sustains himself selling produce. I decided it would be too inconvenient for me to try and get a melon on the plane with me. Even if security let me bring it on, I’d have to carry it along with my heavy luggage. I promised I’d buy one though and frankly I needed all of the good karma I could get. “Hey, I want to keep my word. This isn’t going to fit in my luggage, but I want to buy this for him,” I said, pointing at the homeless guy, leaning up against CVS. “No. I don’t need charity,” he told me. “If you don’t need one, it’s totally cool.” “Seriously Max, this isn’t about you. It’s totally about me and I need some good karma.” “Fine. I’ll let him pick one out,” Max said with a smile and he paid it forward.

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