Took the boy to the grocery store. There's two doors to the grocery store, and next to one of them is one of those quarter ride machines, this time a horse. Which is why I never use that entrance.
Well, Christopher spotted it at the beginning of the shopping and of course wanted a ride. I almost always have a pile of quarters in my purse, and we're working on delayed gratification, so I told him if he behaved in the store he could have a ride.
Check out. He fulfilled his part of the deal, so we walk put the door to fulfill my part...
There's a youngish couple there, with a 3 year old or so little boy. Waiting with their cart full of groceries.
Chronic poverty and hardship leave marks, if you know where to look, and they were definitely marked.
As I put Christopher on the ride, the mother watched with a total look of sadness and guilt. The little boy watched with a look of envy, sadness, and resignation. A family in which life was so hard that a quarter couldn't be found or spared.
I know how both sides of that equation feels, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
After the boy was done, I pulled another quarter out of my purse, handed it to the mother, and said "I've been there."
The music for the ride started up as I walked away.