Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Balloons on the Moon
While we were visiting Mae and her family in Kelowna recently, we heard this wonderful anecdote.
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Mae was given a free helium balloon by a food merchant where Papa and Mae were shopping. She proudly wore it out of the store (tied to her wrist), got into the car with it, and made it all the way to her house with it intact. After playing with it for a while, it was time to go outside. The balloon was carefully retied onto her wrist, and out she went. You know the rest of the story. Yup, somehow, the balloon wasn’t secured and it got away.
Mae was heartbroken. No, maybe that’s not a strong enough word. She was practically traumatized, and her parents—who are careful not to accommodate unreasonable demands—felt so sad about her emotional devastation that Mummy offered to take her to buy a replacement balloon.
So off they went, Mummy and Mae, to the Dollar Store where a cheerful (and elderly) clerk walked them over to the balloon display so Mae could select a new one. As the clerk listened to Mae’s story about the earlier balloon, she set down the new, un-inflated balloon that Mae had selected, and chose a second balloon from the display. She filled it with helium, tied it off, and invited Mae to walk with her to the store’s entrance where she let it go.
“We will send your lost balloon a playmate,” she told Mae as she intentionally released it. “Ah, that’s better, don’t you think?” she asked, smiling. “They can play on the moon together.”
Needless to say, Mae liked the notion very much and was all-smiles as she and the clerk made their way back to the helium tank to inflate her new balloon. The clerk tied it snuggly onto her wrist.
“No, ma’m,” the clerk said to Mummy, who was digging for her wallet. “Please, put your money away! There will be no charge for either of the balloons.”
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Hard to say who was happier at the outcome, the mother, the child, the extraordinary clerk . . . or the lost balloon greeting its playmate on the moon.