Trader Joe's

Bringing Warmth And Beauty To The Supermarket

One San Francisco woman turned a forgotten accessory into a good deed

Winter comes to San Francisco as a shock to many residents, despite annual low temperatures that average a balmy 50 degrees Farenheit. The weather can swing from warm to cool in the course of an afternoon, and all but the most experienced San Franciscans are often caught unprepared for a sudden cold snap.

So when San Franciscan Jane Walker (not her real name) came across a burgundy cashmere sweater-knit scarf she no longer needed at the bottom of a dresser drawer, she figured she’d find a new home for it. “It had been really cold and wet and I bet there was somebody who needed it,” she recalls. “I thought I would wash it and fold it up and put it in my car, and the next time I saw somebody who looked cold, I would offer it to them.”

She said, ‘You’re giving me this?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’m giving it to you. I hope it helps!’

“I thought maybe I’d see somebody walking down the street, but a couple of days went by and I was going into Trader Joe’s, and there’s always someone who stands in the parking lot directing traffic,” Walker says. “They usually look a little bit miserable, because it’s usually windy and cold there.”

On this particular afternoon, there was a young woman directing traffic, who pointed Walker to a parking spot. Before she parked, though, Walker rolled down her window, and asked the parking lot attendant if she was cold. “She said, ‘Yeah, I am.’ I said, ‘I have a scarf that I just washed. Would you like it?’ She got this sort of surprised look, wrinkled up her face a little bit. She looked at me kind of funny and as I handed it to her, and she said, ‘You’re giving me this?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’m giving it to you. I hope it helps!'”

After another odd look from the attendant, Walker pulled into her parking space. But by the time her shopping was done, the shift had changed, and the young woman was nowhere to be seen. “I didn’t get to see her wearing the scarf, but I think she put it on,” she says.

“I hope it made her feel better,” Walker says. “It made me feel better to give it to her. I’d like to hand out more scarves and sweaters that I find, especially pretty cashmere ones that are cheap and beautiful at the thrift store.”

“First, though, I’m going to go through my dresser drawers.”

(Photo courtesy of Flickr user Phillip Pessar)

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