Remember that awesome scene in “The Untouchables” when Eliot Ness and Agent Stone have a shootout with the mafia guys in the middle of a train station?
What do you mean you’ve never seen “The Untouchables”? Sigh. What am I going to do with you. Alright, go rent it. Or piece it together through YouTube clips. Meet you back here in two hours.
OK, so now, awesome right? Well, the tensest part of that scene is obviously the baby stroller rolling away from Ness, who tries to simultaneously catch the stroller and shoot roughly 4,000 bad guys.
Ness and Stone ultimately shoot at least 3,998 of them and save the baby in super cool heroic fashion.
It took two of them to do it. I only needed me.
It happened the other day in the parking lot of my local grocery store. As I have told you far more times than you have wanted to hear, I consider myself a leader in the cart return movement. Carts have for generations been a noble working breed in our stores, and they deserve the respect and care of being returned to their corrals after use.
The cart army has grown over the years, and I believe the tide is definitely turning in our favor, to the point where serious federal legislation is being discussed to make abandoning carts a federal offense. (And by “serious” I mean “imaginary.”)
Nonetheless we are making a difference in the parking lot world, one cart at a time.
But every now and again, a cart goes rogue without the discourteous hand of an abandoning shopper.
I was turning down a lane looking for a spot. In this aisle, there are two free spots at the very front. Then, on either side, the next eight are reserved, for handicapped, expectant moms and veterans. If you are a handicapped pregnant veteran, you can pretty much just triple park and no one can say a word to you.
The first two spots were taken, so I was prepared to head toward the end of the aisle, which is fine, because I don’t think walking an extra 40 feet is exactly a trial of Job.
As I headed down the aisle, I saw the nose of a cart emerge from behind a car on my left. It inched out a little more. And a little more. And then it emerged free of the car, no shopper’s hand to guide it. The shopper was halfway in her car situating some groceries as the fairly full cart began barreling down the parking lot.
Cue the violin music and go to slow motion. “Untouchables” time.
I hit the gas and turned the wheel just enough to steer to the right of the cart. The cart was now about 10 feet from her car and picking up speed.
I saw her emerge from her car and see the cart speeding away. Her eyes went wide. I can’t be certain, but I think she may have screamed (in slow motion, of course) “MY BABY!”
My car caught up with the cart and I nosed to the left, setting myself on a collision course for it. I extended my arm out the window and caught the front the of the cart just before it touched my side mirror. I eased us both to a stop, put my car in park and emerged from the car. I turned the cart around as the woman was approaching me. She looked mortified. “I am so sorry!” she said. I just tipped my fedora, nodded and said, “Ma’am.”
After I parked my car and was heading to the store, the woman whose baby (OK, groceries) I had saved was finishing unloading her groceries. I approached her and said, “I’ll get your cart. Again.” Wink. Pretty sure she swooned a smidge.
We Untouchables get that all the time.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Charleston. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.