The past few days, the weather has been quite agreeable in this country. But last Friday it was a bit windy and cold. I was working. Usually I only work after the shop is closed, but they called me, asked if I could come in early. So I did. I had nothing to do anyway. Besides, it was just two hours.
Through the wind and the cold air, people streamed into the shop. Some only stopped by for the warmth, others actually bought some things they needed. I work in a drugstore, we sell a variety of things, from shampoo to painkillers to microchips. People often come to me when they can't find anything, when they need a special kind of soap, when there aren't any diapers on the shelves and I have to get some from the storeroom. For anything at all, and I try to help them the best I can.
Just half an hour before closing time, a man walked in. I was busy filling up the empty spaces where bottles of shampoo were supposed to be. He was getting rather old, around his fifties I'd say.
And balding. I was halfway done with filling up the holes when he walked up to me to ask me where he could find a memory card for his phone and if we still had some.
"Or I'll get in an argument with my wife!" he added to it. I smiled and showed him where we keep the memory cards. The man laughed and took a 4G one.
"Now there will be some peace at home! My wife sent me out to get just this little thing in this bloody weather, you see." he began as he studied the thing, as if not sure it was the right one.
"If there was none left, she'd be in trouble!" he joked and laughed, and I couldn't help but laugh too.
"Now now, sir. She could've sent you out for it tomorrow too." I said, knowing the weather would be getting worse the day after and the temperature would drop even further than it had that day.
"It would be better to get it today, since the weather will be getting worse." I added
"Well, girl, let me tell you something." he said to me as his eyes began to glisten.
"Tomorrow I will be out of the country. I will be going somewhere very hot! I'm going to Sri Lanka in the morning" he laughed, and his eyes seemed to smile with him. My inner child acted up, I too started smiling wider.
"I suppose you couldn't take me with you, could you sir?" I asked him, maybe sounding a bit too serious.
"I suppose I could." the man said, much to my surprise.
"But you're gonna have to work for it." his tone too, became a bit more serious. Even now I'm not sure if he really meant it, or if it was just my wishful thinking.
"If it's about money, I'll have to pass. I can't afford Sri Lanka." I said a bit disappointed
"Oh, but money is not the problem at all." he told me. I looked at the man, rather confused. What would I have to work for then?
"You see, I am a voluntary surgeon. I fly over the world, helping people, especially kids, that are victims of the wars going on in their country. Kids often step on landmines, blowing their limbs off. If they're lucky. The children that survived often need amputations. Parts of their body have become useless or are too damaged to keep without endangering their health. That's where I come in. As a surgeon I mostly amputate parts of their bodies. It's a pretty gruesome job and you'll see things you won't like every day. But it has a bright side. The children I help will get prostheses immediately, so that when they lose and arm or a leg, they will be able to replace that, so that they can walk normally."
This story of the man made me speechless. For a moment I was dumbfounded. The man did nothing but smile and I could see in his face that he loved doing it. And he was proud of doing it, as he has
every right to be. I too am proud of him and he earned my deepest respect in the few minutes we had been talking. He also told me that he didn't work for an organization, but on his own. He almost
convinced me to actually come with him to help him, but sadly, I'm underage and can't leave the country without a parent or someone responsible for me. I can't even leave school for a few days for
a thing like that. But this man, who I only met through a simple question and a talk about the weather, made my entire month. And I've been having a bad month. This man, I never asked his name. I
probably wouldn't even recognize his face when he stands in front of me. But he earned every bit of respect a person could earn from me. And I am proud to have talked to such a man.
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