Mrs. Pincus is, by far, the nicest person I've ever known (and — I swear — that is not a biased opinion). She is kind and helpful, always willing to offer a ride or run an errand. She expresses genuine concern for her fellow human. She is hospitable and really enjoys doing nice things for people. She is a direct contrast to her husband (yours truly), who distrusts and has contempt for nearly every person on the planet.
Getting a jump on the upcoming gift-giving holidays (another of her many virtues), Mrs. P was on her way home from a day filled with shopping. She stopped at a Wawa Market (a chain of local convenience stores, some of which feature gas stations) to fill up and pick up sandwiches for dinner. She stood by her car and busied herself with her cellphone as the gas pump administered gallon after gallon of fuel into the car's tank. A car pulled up alongside Mrs. P's car and the driver's window slid down into the door.
"Excuse me.," a woman's voice said.
My wife didn't look up, continuing her mobile post to Facebook.
"Excuse me, ma'm.," the woman repeated.
Realizing that the woman was trying to get her attention, my wife answered. She expected to soon be delivering directions to a nearby address or, at the very least, a secluded street.
The woman hesitated slightly, but then summoned her courage and made her plea. "I'm so sorry to ask this. This is very difficult to ask. I am on Welfare and I'm waiting for my check and I don't have any money for groceries for my family... for my children. Do you think you could spare some money so I can buy something for my children to eat?"
My wife was touched, however, she explained that she had no cash at all. (She really didn't.) But, she offered to go into Wawa and purchase sandwiches for the children.
The woman was stunned at my wife's generosity. "Really?," she asked, "You'd do that?"
"Sure. I sure will."
The woman cautioned, "I have four children. There are four of them."
My wife stepped closer to the car as the woman waved her open palm over the tops of her children's heads like a model on The Price is Right gesturing towards a washing machine. Mrs. P. saw four children in the car — three in the backseat, one in the front passenger — ranging in age from teen down to eight or nine. None of them looked up, as they were all thoroughly engrossed in the activity playing across the screens of their iPhones.
That's right. iPhones.
"You have got to be kidding me!," my wife exclaimed, "They have iPhones?!? I don't even have an iPhone!"
The woman countered. "Their father bought them. I have no control over what he buys for them."
"Yeah," Mrs. P replied, "but someone is paying the monthly bill for them... and it sure isn't gonna be me!" With that, she returned the gas nozzle to the pump, got into her car and drove away.
My wife is nice, but even "nice" has its limits.