At the counter, he asked for a pack of cigarettes and hastily handed cash to the clerk. With several more errands to run, and even worse weather to beat within the next few hours, he had no time to waste. “Let’s go,” he said gruffly as he opened the swinging glass door. He turned to see his daughter was all the way at the back of the store. He called to her again, growing impatient and then walked back to where she was, prepared to scold.
He found her sitting on the hard, linoleum floor with a stuffed, yellow duck, walking it across the floor and making quack sounds. She looked up as he stood over her with his hands on his hips. “Look daddy. Look how cute he is.” He looked down at his daughter and into her hopeful eyes as she held up the toy with both hands for him to see. She didn’t seem to notice that her bare knees were against a cold, dirty floor. She didn’t seem to notice that he was in a hurry or concerned about money, the weather, or the list of chores that needed to be done.
Knowing that the last thing on earth his daughter needed was another stuffed toy and that the duck would probably be forgotten by tomorrow, he knelt down and said, “Sweetie, do you want me to buy you that duck?”
Once again at the counter, he paid cash for the little toy and left the change in the pennies bowl next to the register. He half smiled in silence the whole way home as he watched his little girl cuddle the duck as if it were the best present she ever received in her whole life.