Living in Abundance
A friend and I have lunch almost every week at the same sandwich shop. It's family owned; the owner and many of the workers are Middle Eastern.

The person ahead of us had forgotten her wallet. She asked them to keep her sandwich until she could return and pay for it. The worker at the cash register wrote her name on the sandwich and set it aside.

Just then the owner, called 'Mom' by the workers, who had been standing nearby, picked up the sandwich and yelled at the woman. "Come back!"

What was going to happen next?

"Here, take the sandwich with you. You can come back later and pay me. Come after three tomorrow; before then they won't know."

The woman hesitated, came back, got her sandwich and went out the door.

I have to admit, I have my prejudices. The people at this shop, know us, and treat us as good customers. They hand us the cash register tape and remind us to take the survey to get the discount, and if there are extra coupons, they've been known to give us one. But still, I'm expecting them to be very careful about money. My unspoken prejudice - I know this isn't true, I continually fight it, but some part of me still reacts this way - is that they watch their money very carefully.

I've had plenty of experiences to the contrary. My barber is from South America. He likes to be paid in cash. He will take credit cards, but charges extra when you pay that way. I once forgot to stop by the bank before I saw him. He let me walk out the door and pay him later that day.

My prejudice was about to get another blow.

Mom took over the register as we stepped up to it. She added a cookie to each of our orders, free of charge, and then asked why we didn't try their latest cookie recipe, finally saying, "Here I'll add it to the bag, you can split it."

Okay, that's just good business. We are regular customers after all, and she's just making us feel good about being there. The cookies don't really cost her that much.

Well, yeah. But I've seen people who count every penny, and they don't give cookies to customers. They don't let people leave without paying. And they most especially don't give them unpaid merchandise to take with them.

The universe is abundant. There really is enough for all of us, if we are willing to share a little and not be quite so greedy. We don't have to stop being capitalists, earning a living, or providing for our families. We don't even have to give up on our toys.

The best part of believing in abundance is, if we act that way, not only do our lives become richer, but sometimes we even get a return on our money.

My friend and I had finished our sandwiches and our cookies when the woman came back in the door, went up the register and paid for her sandwich.