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Thanksgiving and a hoop shot at Trader Joe’s

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I’m thankful for the major blessings like good friends, loved ones, church, health, and career opportunities on this Thanksgivings. Also, when I sit down to that feast later on today — I will be thankful for those small moments that bring laughter and surprises.

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Trader Joe's on East Alameda Avenue in Burbank

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G --Trader Joe's on East Alameda Avenue in Burbank

Last week on Wednesday, November 17, I  had one of those surprise moments at the Trader Joe’s on East Alameda Avenue in Burbank. And I shared that moment with a store full of strangers. I was at the checkout stand, when all of a sudden there were shouts from the store crew of “we’ve got a shooter!” No, I didn’t duck for cover, but I was a bit confused.

The reason for all the excitement, my bill came out to an even amount: $20. When that happens in this Trader Joe’s, the customer gets three chances to shoot a basket. It involves tossing a small rubber ball into an equally small hoop. I was not thrilled. Back in the day, I played basketball — in grade school–that was a long time ago.

I could’ve refused the ball, scooped up my bag of groceries, and made a dash for the exit. But that’s not my style. Nevertheless, I was worried I might embarrass myself and women everywhere — with a lousy shot that hit the ceiling, or thumped the back wall, or crashed into some wine bottles nearby.

I got encouragement and shooting advice from the store staff. I looked around and got a sinking feeling in my stomach. As far as I could see the store was packed with people and THEY WERE ALL WATCHING ME. So I took a deep breath and let the ball fly and it dropped right through the little hoop. Swish!  Cheers and applause erupted from the store crowd. My smile was one of relief as well as triumph.

What did I win? A reusable Trader Joe shopping bag. The bag is nice — still I will remember the moment more for that little thrill of making a hoop shot, on the first try, that I shared with a store full of strangers. Yes, I’m thankful for those small unexpected moments that make life a little more interesting.

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