Moment #430. Yoruba at Kroger. Mon, Sep 26, 2005.
09/26/2005. Even when it's wrong, it's right.
I don't know if I should count the first thing as a missed opportunity. Around 10:45pm, I entered an almost deserted 24-hour Kroger store and there was a customer who could have been African leaving a cash register. I started to get some apples on the display near the entrance, hoping to strike up a conversation as he left. But either my timing was wrong, or I blew the opportunity.
I shopped, checked out, and paid. As I was heading for the door, I double-checked my receipt. A 3-pound bag of apples (not the same ones that were near the entrance, but farther back in the produce section) that I thought was marked $1.99 on the display, had rung up as $2.99. I left my cart near the door, and walked over to the display in the produce section, and it was indeed marked $1.99.
Next to the apple display was an obviously African-looking man, even more so than the first. His wife looked African-American. I'm not sure of my feelings at the time, but probably a little more determined having feared I blew the previous opportunity.
I asked the man "Parlez vous francais?" He understood but hestitated in his answer. I forget what we said next, but then I said the reason I asked was that my church has books in French and other African languages like Igbo and Yoruba. I said that they were free, and I had some in my car if he'd like to see some. He said he spoke Yoruba, and agreed to see. It was kind of awkward because I was not smooth, and he was unsure of my intentions. I said I'd bring them back in and show them to him.
I went back to the entrance, got my cart, and took my purchases to the car. I brought back in a Yoruba Gospel Fundamentals (actually Gospel Principles Simplified), an English Gospel Fundamentals, and Yoruba and English copies of the Joseph Smith Testimony pamphlet.
I don't consider this "soliciting." We were just two guys who struck up a conversation. He agreed to see what I had, and I was not selling anything.
I went back in and they were still in the produce section. When he saw me, he left his cart and approached me, which indicated he was eager. He flipped through the Yoruba Gospel Fundamentals. He was aware of the new temple in Aba Nigeria, and at least knew of members of the church. He graciously accepted the material, and I showed him my card and the local info flyer that I had put in it.
I didn't even both to ask Kroger for my $1.00 back on the apples. It was worth it.