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Change of plans reaps big benefits

Published March 29. 2014 09:00AM

When life gives you pasta ...

Some days, things get to be pretty busy at the office.

I find myself getting a little bit frustrated when my already long "to do" list is taken over by nonstop phone calls, walk-ins and an unrelenting barrage of e-mails.

Wednesday was one of those days and it was so busy that I never got to take my lunch break, which I was going to utilize to pick up my prescription from Wal-Mart.

Even with working through lunch, I ended up having to stay later than usual to finish up some additional tasks before calling it a day.

I was going to put off my trip to Wal-Mart until my daughter called and asked me to pick up salad for her to have for lunch.

As I headed up Route 443 toward my destination, something told me to stop at Giant to pick up the salad and a few other items that suddenly came to mind.

I really wasn't interested in going out in the bitter cold twice if I didn't have to, but experience has taught me to listen to that still, small voice that often leads me in a direction that I would not have chosen otherwise.

I grabbed my daughter's salad and then proceeded to seek out the other things I realized I also needed.

For some reason, a few of the items that I wanted I was unable to locate in their usual spot.

I wandered around, trying to think of logical places that they could be, to no avail.

Realizing I was spending far too much time on my search, I decided to make my way to the register to check out.

I stood near the registers for a few moments trying to discern which line would have me out of there the quickest, and settled on one five aisles away which had only one patron with just a few items left on the conveyor belt.

"Yessss," I mused, feeling like I had one-upped everyone else standing in the other lines.

The woman in front of me was in the process of having a conversation with the cashier and bagger about wanting to give them something.

The cashier explained that they were unable to accept it as it was against store policy.

With that, she turned around and asked me if I would like some pasta that she had purchased.

She said that she only bought it so that she could get more gas points.

Since I have sworn off of pasta because of my diabetes, I told her that I would take it and just donate it to a local food bank.

I was expecting a couple boxes of macaroni or spaghetti, however, when she moved her cart to the side, she revealed about six full shopping bags containing more than 60 packages of frozen ravioli and gnocchi.

I thanked her for her generosity and watched in perplexity as she pushed her cart out of the store.

I wasn't really sure what I was going to do with all of that pasta since the food pantry only takes nonperishable goods.

Driving home, however, I suddenly thought of Rita Trucios and her Panther Valley area ministry called Feed the People in which free community dinners are offered a few times each month to anyone who comes out for the event.

I phoned her and she was more than happy to accept the donation.

After thinking about how my plans had changed throughout the day, the choice to go to Giant instead of Wal-Mart and even the choice of which cash register to check out at and at precisely the right time, I finally understood how all the events of the day purposefully led me to Rita.

Funny how things work out that way.

What makes the whole thing serendipitous is the fact that Feed the People has suffered a dramatic decrease in the amount of donations it had been receiving to fund the feeding program, making the timing of this donation absolutely perfect.

To the woman who passed on all of that food to me: Please know that your generous and spontaneous donation is enough to provide a meal for more than 100 people at a future Feed the People event.

I hope you read this column and consider coming out for a nice Italian dinner to see how your gift will greatly bless others who are truly in need.

On behalf of all of them, I thank you once again.

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