At the risk of breaking federal privacy laws, I want to nominate a young teenager from Merritt Island for the Nobel Peace Prize. I don't know how you nominate someone for this distinguished, or as of late, dubious, award. But I'm seriously looking into it.
Because he did something that could change the world.
Yes. The WORLD.
At Publix, as in nearly every supermarket, there are Express Lanes. Their purpose is to keep our busy lives hectic, to keep us from slamming on the brakes behind nonagenarians trying to count change at the register with their feeble hands, or army-sized families buying enough food to survive nuclear holocaust. 10 items or less. 15 items or less. In some rare instances, 20 items or less. It's always been a considerate and brilliant concept.
With one flaw: discipline.
Supermarkets have always lacked the discipline to enforce the "10 items or less" requirements. They enforce their prices and laws about shoplifting, but not the Express Line signs. More recommendations than requisites, the signs are rendered meaningless as cashiers swipe 25 cans of Jolly Green Giant products all belonging to the same mother with baby in hand. No doubt that's where it started. "Well it's only 25 items, that's close to 20," the compassionate cashier would rationalize. Then the old man who can barely hold a loaf of bread long enough to place it on the conveyor belt. She can't turn him away after all that effort. It took him 20 minutes to put 11 items up there. And what of the person in the motorized cart who can't even stand? What kind of sick world would we live in if the cashier asked her to put everything back in the front of her cart, flip the motorized cart in reverse, and get in Checkout Line 6 just to go through it all again because the sign said "10 items or less?"
But at some point, in some distant land to be sure, the dark soul of some Tool abused the mercy of the teenage cashier. Taking advantage of her passive nature, he brought his 12 pack and cigarettes, tv dinners and ice cream, chips, salsa, queso and 20 other things and piled it on the conveyor belt. And from there, the innocence of the Express Line was lost.
Now all of us leer and cuss people in our heads. We have a pack of gum and peanut butter, and they have 3 weeks' worth of groceries. We start counting everyone's items around us. "The lady behind me has a head of lettuce and a 12 pack of corn dogs. That's 13 items." The cynicism consumes our whole shopping experience. We sprint to check-out lines trying to cut off the elderly or handicapped because they're slower. We won't hold a place in line for the lady who forgot to grab a carton of milk. "Tough break, Mother of Twins. Should've made a list." We grow frustrated with coupons, check writers, and Space Invaders--the people who have never heard of personal space, especially when in line behind you. Grocery shopping is now awful. And gruesome. And in some places, bloody.
All because of the Toolbag who couldn't, or dare I say WOULDN'T, count his groceries and play by the rules.
That was, until, Travis came along. I was in line, frustrated as ever, over a guy who no doubt had well over 20 items. In a "10 Items or Fewer" line. You can't DOUBLE the total and expect to get away with it. That's like drinking the entire carton of your roommate's milk. A sip here or there, but chugging the whole thing is pretty blatant. But it's not like this is unprecedented either though. Who counts items? Who turns people away for excess in the Express?
Proving that the youth of America do indeed have a grasp on Mathematics, or at least basic arithmetic and moxy, Travis told this middle-aged man, "I'm sorry sir. You're going to have to get in another line." The man, stunned by the taser-like demand, regrouped and responded with "What? I'm sorry? Why?" Travis, calm under fire, coolly replied, "Because you have more than 10 items, sir. This is an Express Lane." The man tried the whole "Well, I already have all my stuff here" bit, but Travis had none of it. And while it most likely made me wait longer in line for the crotchety man to move all his groceries back into his cart, it was worth it.
Well worth it.
For this man's ego check. For sensibility's sake. For civilization.
And that's why I nominate Travis, the Merritt Island Publix Cashier, for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Because he just might save the world.