Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Have a Great Night"

I thought I was just going to the grocery store after work to get bread, cereal, juice and a few other essentials.  Boring, but necessary. I had no idea that I would receive so much more by the time I walked out the door.

I shopped in sort of a hurried haze.  My movements and choices were so automatic that I hardly had to think about what I was doing, other than making sure I bought the cereal with the almonds instead of the raisins this time. Okay, time to checkout – find the shortest line – almost done – I’m tired – just want to get home. Whew, I found a check out lane with no one else in line, yes!!

The young man working the cash register was chatting with the girl who was the bagger.  He was explaining that his mom was working two jobs now, yet things were still rough, money-wise. He was glad it was payday. He was going to give her part of his check to help out this month. The girl bagging told him she understood.  She shared that her mother wouldn’t get home until late that night from work so she cleaned the house to surprise her mom. As I finished putting my groceries on the conveyor belt, I just had to say something.  “I heard you talk about how you are helping out at home and I think it is pretty awesome.” They both just smiled.

After I was efficiently checked-out and my expertly bagged groceries were in the cart, I was told to “Have a great night”.   And I thought to myself, thank you, I already did.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Power of Ordinary

It happened so quickly that I almost didn’t realize the significance.   A typical Saturday afternoon, zipping in and out of stores taking care of the myriad of errands that seem to be part of every weekend.

I was getting ready to depart from a favorite local business, behind a young boy, about twelve or thirteen years old. He was walking out the door, following a slightly older looking girl into the small parking lot.  I noticed that the older girl, rather than holding the door open, had let the door almost slam on the boy as he was walking out of the store.  There was a quick look of surprise and hurt on his face as the door almost hit him.  It was a windy day and the way the wind was blowing made the door more difficult to control. Then, as I walked out, this young boy turned and held the door for me, with a shy smile.  I thanked him and the moment was over.

But wait, what just happened here?  Something pretty amazing. This young boy’s face had shown his distress at having the door almost hit him and yet a second later he turned around and made sure I did not have the same experience.  Within no time at all, he had processed his hurt and made the decision to make things better for the next person, who just happened to be me.

Such an ordinary gesture.  And yet so powerful that I hope I always live up to the example set by a young boy on a windy day.