Today I was in line to donate plasma in Wichita Kansas. If you follow me on Instagram @mikealcarzinc I sometimes refer to it as the CVS blood pressure machine. I watched a few dreams get shattered when people were rejected because they did not have the proper documentation or because they falsely answered the pre-screening questionnaire. The guy next to me knew another guy in line and I could not help but over hear their conversation. He seemed like a nice southern guy and offered to buy his acquaintance a soda after they talked about their recent struggles. Not to signal out anyone, but you see a lot of ex-convict look-a-likes, gangsters, grungy people, and rachet looking people at the plasma donation center. It’s an easy way to make an extra $300 to $400 a month.
I am a very cognitively aware individual and I watch the guy walk over to the soda machine. He put a dollars worth of quarters in the machine. Nothing happened. He put more quarters in. Nothing happened. He spent the next 2 minutes putting quarters into the machine and nothing occurred. The line I was standing in slowly moved forward. The man starts banging on the machine and a few quarters get dispensed. He puts them back in along with more quarters of his own. Nothing happens. Then he starts looking around for a worker bee. “You’re machine is broke. It’s taken four dollars in coins.” The man continues to put coins into the machine. This guy really wants a soda. Then he moves on over to the snack machine and puts in a dollars worth of quarters. Nothing happens. He puts in more quarters nothing happens. Finally he gets some Fritos and makes his way back over to the soda machine. He puts in a few more dollars worth of coins. “You gotta be F##kn kidding me.” He smacks the machine. “These machine’s have eaten five dollars in quarters and I have 100 witnesses.”
Now i’m the youngest guy in line surrounded by a lot of folks from different strokes. I say, “I don’t mind getting subpoenaed and cross examined.” Three African Americans next to me start laughing. “Where were you on the 19th around noon?” Now the brothers are really laughing. “I was donating plasma and the machine ate five of this man’s quarters.”
A few minutes later an employee gives the thirsty man a voucher for a free soda. “I need two to make up for all the money it ate.” “I only can give you one.” The man puts the voucher in the machine and starts laughing. “It says free!” He selects a water. I crack up. There’s a water fountain down the hall.
The man gets back in line. “Stupid machine.” He smiles. “You never gave up. You won the battle,” I respond. He asks if I want something to drink. I respectfully declined. Now it was my turn to donate plasma.