While Las Vegas is like Disneyland for adults on The Strip, once you venture away from the tourist spots it’s not necessarily the friendliest place in the world. Angry drivers, crooks, thieves — you sometimes need a thick skin and a hard heart to live in this city.
Panhandlers are everywhere on Boulder Highway. I help them out occasionally, but I have to turn dozens away every week.
But the other day I was in line at Wal-Mart behind a gentleman who was clearly having a tough time. He had carefully selected dry staples that would last him awhile. When he swiped his food EBT card he discovered he’d goofed and that his food stamps had not kicked in for the new month. He was clearly embarrassed and started away to return all the items he’d just spent an hour shopping for.
When he was just out of earshot I asked the cashier how much his bill was. $42. Not having received my first summer paycheck, I was only prepared to cover a $25 tab, but the young lady behind me interjected and said she’d pay for it!
We had an associate track him down. The man shook our hands and said he was simply speechless. We exchanged pleasantries and, before he walked away, just took us both in for a moment as if he were taking a mental snapshot.
Yep, it happened in Sin City. And I can tell you this random act of kindness is something rare in these parts…