Stranger's kindness toward antique dealer is cherished

Posted by Lucy Luginbill on July 16, 2013 

People who deal in antiques are no stranger to having things passed on to them. Daintily embroidered tea towels, a grandmother's china from days gone by, or shimmering rhinestones upon a brooch rarely raise an eyebrow in surprise.

But every so often, even an antique dealer can be taken by surprise — a day changed by something that finds its way into their hand. The moment engraved in their memory as clearly as the priceless signature on a treasured painting.

Maryann Braddock remembers the morning just before the Fourth of July when the sun seemed to suddenly shine a little brighter.

On her way to Richland Uptown Antiques, where she sells collectible items in space No. 19, she stopped in at WinCo Foods.

"I went to do a small shopping," the Pasco resident says with a chuckle, "and ended up with a medium shopping!" — recalling how her watermelon search brought unplanned items into her cart.

One by one, onto the conveyor belt they had gone as the cash register display acknowledged each purchase. The double-digit ticket was now much more than Maryann had expected. Yet she didn't fret ... until she opened her checkbook.

There before her was proof that she unexpectedly had a problem. All the checks were gone!

"I was embarrassed," the senior reflects on the incident, "and I had all this food checked through."

Frantically searching through myriad pockets inside her handbag, Maryann found $60 — still not enough. And because the market doesn't accept credit cards, she knew it was no different than if someone had collected too many items at the antique store and couldn't pay the bill. Something had to be put back.

The cashier and Maryann began to pick and choose what would reduce her bill, which was more than $85.

"I apologized to the lady behind me for holding her up," the mortified shopkeeper remembers painfully.

On top of taking time to remove items, Maryann still had to self-bag her groceries. The minutes stretched like a second-rate estate auction.

All of a sudden, the food she was loading into her cart looked familiar. And it had been paid for, the cashier kindly assured her.

"I was so impressed that she'd do that for me," Maryann says about the woman who had stood in line behind her. "When it’s over $25 it’s a real shocker!"

Racing to catch-up with the stranger, Maryann asked to repay her by mail. But the middle-aged brunette declined.

"I said I hoped someday she'd meet a 'rescuing' stranger like I had," Maryann remembers when the woman wished to remain anonymous. "She told me she had already experienced a stranger doing something nice for her and she was just passing it on."

Certainly, food for thought.

And as any antique dealer knows — including Maryann — some nice things that get passed on are true treasures. This was one of them.

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