|On a recent weekend in Atlantic City, a woman won a bucketful of
quarters at a slot machine. She took a break from the slots for dinner with her
husband in the hotel dining room. But first she wanted to stash the |
quarters in her room. "I'll be right back and we'll go to eat," she told
her husband and carried the coin-laden bucket to the elevator.
As she was about to walk into the elevator she noticed two black men already aboard. One
of them was big.. Very big... and intimidating figure. The woman froze. Her first thought
was: These two are going to rob me. Her next thought was: Don't be a bigot, they look like
perfectly nice gentlemen. She stood and stared at the two men.
She felt anxious, flustered and ashamed. She
hoped they didn't read her mind - but God, they had to know what she was thinking! Her
hesitation about joining them in the elevator was all too obvious now. Her face was
flushed. She couldn't just stand there, so with a mighty effort of will she picked up one
foot and stepped forward and followed with the other foot and was on the elevator.
Avoiding eye contact, she turned around stiffly and faced the elevator doors as they
closed. A second passed, and then anothersecond, and then another. Her fear increased! The
elevator didn't move. Panic consumed her. My God, she thought, I'm trapped and about
to be robbed!
Her heart plummeted. Perspiration poured
from every pore. Then one of the men said, "Hit the floor." Instinct
told her to do what they told her. The bucket of quarters flew upwards as she threw out
her arms and collapsed on the elevator floor. A shower of coins rained down on
her. Take my money and spare me, she prayed. More seconds passed. She heard
one of the men say politely, "Ma'am, if you'll just tell us what floor you're going
to, we'll push the button." The one who said it had a little trouble getting the
words out. He was trying mightily to hold in a belly laugh.
The woman lifted her head and looked up at the two men. They reached down to help
her up. Confused, she struggled to her feet. "When I told my friend here to hit the
floor," said the average sized one, "I meant that he should hit the elevator
button for our floor. I didn't mean for you to hit the floor, ma'am." He spoke
genially. He bit his lip. It was obvious he was having a hard time not laughing.
The woman thought: My God, what a spectacle I've made of myself. She was too humiliated to
speak. She wanted to blurt out an apology, but words failed her. How do you
apologize to two perfectly respectable gentlemen for behaving as though they were going to
rob you? She didn't know what to say.
The three of them gathered up the strewn
quarters and refilled her bucket. When the elevator arrived at her floor they
insisted on walking her to her room. She seemed a little unsteady on her feet, and they
were afraid she might not make it down the corridor. At her door they bid her a good
evening. As she slipped into her room she could hear them roaring with laughter as they
walked back to the elevator.
The woman brushed herself off. She pulled herself together and went downstairs for dinner
with her husband.
The next morning flowers were delivered to
her room - a dozen roses. Attached to EACH rose was a crisp one hundred dollar bill.
The card said: "Thanks for the best laugh we've had in years."
It was signed,