As many of you know ... sicker than sick over here. I don't know exactly what that means, but ... we've all seen better days. You know it's bad when you stop eating dinner, in the middle of dinner, to pick up the whole house just to see if it will swing everyone's mood in a better direction to have less clutter around them. (Good news, it worked. Also, funny side-effect: as an abrupt turn of events, it shocked everyone else into helping. Didn't expect that but made it go that much faster.) Was reading a story about stories ... and storytelling ... today. You can read the whole story here, but at the end she wrote:
It’s hard to remember when strangers are annoying, that they too are special, and we do not know their lives. I don’t want to be the people snapping at the lady who just lost her baby. I’d rather be the guy being gentle to the lady who just lost her mom.
While my story is not like theirs, I found myself nodding when I read this the other day. You see, just this week, this was me. Stuck in line at the grocery store, with kids in tow, no one feeling very well, all of us doing our very best to survive. We've been sick all week, but we still needed some basics from the store. It's just the way it goes. I stood in the kleenex aisle for who knows how long trying to find my footing. I couldn't even pick out a dang box of kleenex until I hear my son's sweet little six-year-old voice, "These are the ones we always get. This is what we have at home." - "Oh yeah, throw those in the cart then. Good job!" I smile. By the time we made it to the front to check out, almost an hour later with well over 12 things, I wanted to cry. The lines were all long. We were exhausted, tired, hungry, needing more meds. I must have looked the part as well. Out of nowhere I hear from my left, "Ma'am? Would you follow me this way." Honestly, he made it sound like I was in trouble. But I was too sick - and tired - to argue.
Thank goodness it was none-of-that. No. Just a sweet employee who saw me, went to a lane that wasn't even open, helped me unload the grocery cart ("Do you need help? I can put it all up on the conveyor for you." - "Uhhhh, no ... well ... maybe ... sorry the kids coats are everywhere ... gloves too ... yeah ... it's been a long day... thank you ... for helping me unload the cart"). As he continued to check us out (even gave the kids their "right" drinks - thoughtful & attentive) and told us all about living in a dry cabin years ago & looking for a new place now, I realize he didn't open up his lane. It was still "closed". He saw we needed help, didn't ask - just helped. Stepped in where he was needed. His line about them being backed up, probably true, but it also appeared he just wanted to help someone who wasn't haven't a great day.
As he loaded our last bag up, I looked back & saw someone else at the end of that 'closed' sign, looking much how I must have, "Oh? you're closed? okay ... I'll, I'll ..." frantic looking around "no, no" he smiled, " come on through - leave the sign there - but I can go ahead & take you - how are you doing today?"
Thank you to that checker, that cashier. Thank you to each & every one of you who has ever gone out of your way to just make someone's day a little easier. You are noticed. I appreciate you.