Minister’s forum: Learn from assumption |

Minister’s forum: Learn from assumption

Richard DeMolen

About three weeks ago, I stopped off at Popeye’s for some Cajun french fries. I love any kind of french-fries – but I will walk a mile for Cajun french fries. I relish their smell as much as their taste.

As I stood there waiting for my order to be filled – you have to wait at least five minutes for an extra-large order – a man approached the cash register next to mine.

He was dressed in several layers of old clothes. On his head, for example, he not only wore a baseball cap but a water-repellent hood as well. He appeared to be about 50, but he may have been somewhat younger.

The clerk at the counter asked him for his order. He responded by reaching into his pocket and pulling out four quarters. He laid them down in a row.

Looking up at the clerk, the man asked him how much chicken he could get with these four quarters.

“You can’t get anything for a dollar,” the clerk replied. Pointing to the over-head menu, he asked, “Do you see anything on our menu that is less than a $1.29? Move along, ol’ man, you’ve been in here before. You know better than I do that we can’t sell you a piece of chicken for a dollar.”

While listening to this bantering, I reached into my pocket and brought out two quarters. I laid them opposite the four quarters that were already there.

“Will this help,” I asked?

The man at the counter looked puzzled. “Why are you giving me this extra money,” he asked? “Don’t you think that the clerk should just hand over the piece of chicken for a dollar? After all, no chicken wing is worth more than that. Keep your money. I’ll go to McDonald’s and see what I can get there for a dollar.”

Even though I was unsuccessful in persuading this man to buy a piece of chicken, I learned a valuable lesson from him.

We must learn to respect the conscience of another and not impose our taste buds on them.

– The Rev. Richard DeMolen is a priest at Our Lady of Tahoe Catholic Church.

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