Bananas, Loose Change, and Dignity




Jubilee Food Market

Bananas, Loose Change, and Dignity

August 8, 2023

I recently went into Jubilee Food Market to stock up on Blue Bell ice cream (I’ll buy veggies next time!). A woman with two little boys approached the checkout ahead of me- she had corn tortillas and two bunches of bananas. As the cashier started scanning, one of her little boys ran up with a bag of chips. I’ve lost much of my Spanish over the years, but I understood, “No. We are getting bananas.” As the cashier announced the total, the woman poured out a bag of change, mostly pennies. After all the counting, she was a dollar short. The cashier did his very best to communicate with kindness that he needed one more dollar.

“No dollar,” she kept saying. She started to step away, embarrassed and looking at me and back to her children who were watching closely.

“OH!” the cashier exclaimed, as if he’d discovered something new. “One minute.” He turns the credit card scanner and uses his phone to pay her last dollar, not something we encourage at Mission Waco or Jubilee, but an act of compassion, perhaps by the urging of the Holy Spirit, to cover this woman’s shame and allow her to move on with her day with dignity.

In this moment I was overwhelmed by the aspects of our mission that were at work.

Here is a woman, who, without Jubilee, would be left either overpaying for junk at a nearby convenience store or walking over a mile in order to get her corn tortillas and bananas.

Here is Jubilee Food Market, its very existence an act of defiance against the forces at work against those who suffer from poverty.

And here is a cashier from the neighborhood, for a moment setting aside his training and instruction manual to save this woman from embarrassment before her children and peers in the store. 

These are the actions that carry the scent of the Gospel.

Like most of us reading this, because of JFM, she too could enjoy the luxury of simply going to the store to buy bananas, and when what she had to offer wasn’t enough, one of our staff extended the compassion of Christ to her. 

Not only did she leave with corn tortillas and bananas, but she also left with her dignity intact.

Is this not what we are all about?