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Could it have been the free make-up? Or was it very good karma?

I went and hung out with my mom while my dad was away on a trip two weekends ago. My dad does a great job spoiling me by taking me shopping when I want. He usually draws the line when it comes to the distance we have to travel for my shopping excursions, though.

My parents live in Keokuk. They have to drive to at least Iowa City to get any decent shopping done. But, in order to hit up the stores my mom and I enjoy, we have to make the trek to St. Louis, which can be a three-hour trip (depending on who is driving).

Needless to say, Dad does not like to take this trip unless it is absolutely necessary, like going to the airport. Apparently getting that new handbag at the Neiman’s Last Call Sale is not considered important enough.

When Dad goes away, Mom and Rox like to play...well shop. And really, this was one of those really important times. Big bro is getting married in the spring and Mom needed to find a mother’s dress for the wedding.

I’m sure we could have looked somewhere in Iowa City, but did I mention my mom is Filipino? Filipino women are short, extremely short, as in my mom comes in under five foot. So, we needed to go to “our” stores to find the right-sized dress, at least that’s what I kept telling myself.

I also needed to restock on make-up. I know, why drive all the way to St. Louis for make-up? I’ll tell you why, because you can’t find it anywhere in Iowa! I could order it online, but I have this thing. I refuse to buy anything unless I can hold it in my hands first. So it was a much-needed trip to St. Louis.

Come Saturday, we got ready, loaded up some snacks for the long trip, made sure the love of life (my dog Elly-boo) had everything she could possibly desire and set out. When we arrived at the mall of our choice I hit up the make-up counter. The makeup artist wasn’t there, so Anne, whom I assume was some sort of manager for that department, helped me out until my girl arrived. For those who care, I updated my make-up to include fun spring colors in a matte finish. Matte finish for make-up is the new “in” for this spring.

As I was pampered, my mom wandered over to

her make-up counter. Anne drifted that way to help her. My mom bought a couple of things she needs. With her purchase, she got the free gift with purchase that was offered.

Then my mom inquired about a few other things and Anne gave it to her for free. But then, the free stuff just kept coming. They just kept giving her more things and another gift set.

I couldn’t believe it. This was all too good to be true. Apparently, Anne told my mom, she enjoyed working with us. I love free stuff, so I was on Cloud Nine with all the things we got. I didn’t think the day could get better.

We decided to head to the other end of the mall to look for a mother’s dress. Along the way, we stopped into a handbag boutique. Another nugget of fashion information, the new thing is a charm chain to attach to your bag.

As I checked out the charms, I told the salesperson the lock that came with my handbag was broken by the geniuses of TSA (airport security). My bag wasn’t actually locked, but TSA thought otherwise. They cut the lock.

After recalling my sad tale, Mom and I made our way down the mall. When we finally arrived at the store, I heard someone calling out, “Miss!” It was the salesman from the handbag store! He followed me across the mall to replace the lock from my bag. Those things aren’t cheap. More free stuff!

Later, when we were driving home, I told my mom about the past couple of weeks and I remembered an incident at Wal-Mart in Coralville. I had a craving for fried chicken and rice, another Filipino favorite (KFC actually sells rice with it’s fried chicken in the motherland, no joke). As I was studying the baskets of fried chicken I heard someone start talking to me.

It was an Indian lady asking me the price of some popcorn chicken. She was chatting away like we were the best of friends, maybe because she could tell I am half Desi. I had no clue how much her popcorn chicken cost so she asked me to find out. I was raised to respect the aunties, regardless if we’re related or not, so I automatically obeyed. I was also so amused by the whole situation.

I found out the cost of her popcorn chicken, which was a couple of dollars. She was about 50 cents short. I only had a dollar and no change. And she said, “Give me the dollar.” Just like that, like she’s been a family friend since I was born.

I figured, sure, why not, she’ll give me back my change. She went to pay and all of a sudden she was gone. It was the most random thing that has happened to me at Wal-Mart.

After I laughingly told my mom this story, I thought that somehow the random Indian aunty at Wal-Mart was the reason we got so much free stuff at the mall later on.

I’m a religious studies minor, so I’ve studied a lot of religions. I’m a Christian gal, but I tend to be a Christian universalist. I like to take the good stuff from other religions and apply it to my life. I took the universal approach to this one and called on Buddhism and Hinduism.

Followers of both religions believe in the philosophy of karma. There are some small things that set their belief in karma apart, but for the most part it’s essentially the same. At the base of it, it means your actions directly affect the outcome of your life; cause and effect.

I’d like to think by giving a dollar to this lady, karma worked it’s magic and rewarded me in turn. I’d especially like to think that since the lady is Indian and the majority of Indians are Hindu, karma really decided to work on my side.

Regardless if you believe in karma or its other forms in other religions, we should help people out regardless if there is a reward. And, if karma does come back around to reward you, then all the better!

Oh, Mom did end up finding her dress. Unfortunately it still needs to be altered, despite the trip to St. Louis.


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