The other day I went down to do laundry and all of the machines were full. I took note of the remaining times and returned when two machines were scheduled to have finished their loads. As usual, the owner didn’t return in a prompt manner, or rather the owner didn’t return at all. I noticed a familiar laundry basket of a person who’s been known to leave their laundry unattended for hours, so much so that flies would begin to congregate around the wet clothes. I waited patiently for 15 minutes before taking out the person’s laundry and proceeded with my loads. Within that time, another individual took their finished load out, so I ended up putting the delinquent’s two loads into the empty machine because I didn’t want to seem too rude. What is the laundry etiquette anyway? 10 mins, 15, 20? Who knows.
I returned 30 minutes later, and upon entering the laundry room I was surprised to see a mother and her 1 year-old son. At that point I was thankful that I had the courtesy to put her two loads into that empty washer. I walked passed her and went to put my two loads into dryers and I was shocked to find that the two machines I used were empty. I looked around to see if the woman had maliciously dumped my clothes in retaliation for not waiting for her, but there were no piles of cloths lying around. I then looked at a dryer and took a double take when I noticed one of my blankets rolling around in there. I stared dumbfounded. What just happened? I took a step towards the woman and pointed to the dryer and she said that she simply felt like doing something nice and it wasn’t a problem at all. I was floored. Wait, what just happened? I must have looked like a fool as I kept looking back and forth at the woman and at the dryer. All I could say was, “wow”, and a soft “thank you”. The woman had just finished putting her clothes into her dryer and walked out with her little boy. I was still in shock as the woman had put in $2.50 worth of drying time into my machine. I walked away considering if I should bring down $3.00 and leave it near the woman’s dryer.
I went back up and contemplated what just happened. I was amazed because I couldn’t fathom how someone who had their clothes moved would pay for that person’s dryer. I’ve never experienced or heard of such an act of kindness. Moreover, $2.50?! That’s a lot of money relative to normal drying times and costs. I then thought about how I could repay her, but I realized that would rob her of her act of grace. I suppose I’m really jaded by New York City’s survival and high-alert atmosphere, for I just could not imagine someone doing something so selfless. I know it’s not a big thing, but it was so unexpected and completely opposite of how I treated her possessions.
This was an incredible experience for I have so much to learn about grace.