There was a laundry mat in the apartment building next to us. John would collect his spare change and we would exchange our coins for rolls of quarters. Because John was going to school, and I had my little $7.00 an hour job, we had to work to save enough money for our laundry. Once or twice a week I would haul all the laundry baskets and a hand full of quarters over to do our laundry. Most of the time there wasn't anyone in the room. I can recall a couple of unpleasant moments with angry people who were unhappy if someone felt another someone was doing the laundry incorrectly. If you didn't get your laundry out of the dryer in time, someone would be sure to dump out all your laundry out so that they could use the dryer. On one unpleasant situation I walked in on a man and his wife yelling at this little pregnant lady. I don't know why they were so mad but the pregnant lady was in tears and shaking. I was glad my presence was able to give her a chance to collect her things and get out of there.
The main reason for writing about this laundry room is the time a little old lady walked in. I was doing my laundry and I immediately noticed the lady because she looked out of place because of her age. We were the only two people in there at the time. She went to the first washing room and fished some quarters out of a bag. She inserted the quarters and moved onto the next machine. I noticed that it was taking a lot of work for her to get the quarters lined up correctly into the 3 slots that the quarters needed to go in before you pushed the handle in. Her fingers were bent from arthritis so she was having a difficult time. After a couple of minutes she turned and asked, "Would you help me get these coins in the slots? My vision isn't very good."
So I went over and lined up the quarters and then she pushed in the lever. I moved to the side as she walked to the next machine and fished out more quarters. I was confused why she was inserting money into the machines when she didn't have any laundry. "Do you need help getting your laundry out of your car?" I asked her.
"Oh no, I'm just putting these quarters in so that people can was their laundry." I watched as she shuffled around the laundry room and with bent fingers and bad eyes as she slipped the quarters into the machines so struggling people like myself could get a free load of laundry. She made her way around the row of machines and finally back to me. "Here you are," she said as she handed me a handful of quarters. I tried to refuse but she insisted. And I thanked her with a grateful heart, not only for the change, but for the fact that a random act of kindness made my laundry experience truly memorable.