One recent morning I went to the grocery to get some items I needed for school. I was in a rush, of course, but no so much that I didn’t stop and notice an act of thoughtfulness as I pulled in. Another hurried woman was walking briskly to her car and a young clerk was running after her. It looked like she had left a bag of purchases in the store and he was making sure she didn’t leave without it. I smiled as I scurried inside.
It was easy to make fast work of things in the almost deserted store, but as I came up the last aisle into an open space I had to swerve to avoid a man circling his stationary cart. He was speaking loudly, in a foreign language, into his cell phone. He seemed oblivious to me, yet he was constantly looking around the store as he got louder and louder. It was not an angry tone as much as a determined one. I scooted on past, anxious to put him behind me.
That time of the morning only the self-checkout lanes are open. I had purchased a few produce items, so it took me a while to scan them correctly. I noticed that the employees never looked at me, almost as if they were thinking “Don’t make eye contact and we won’t have to help.” They were engaged in friendly banter with one another, seemingly there for the social aspect much more so than the business obligations. No one even said “Thank you,” or “Have a good day,” as I left, annoyed, and wondering what their purpose in being there really was.
Again in the parking lot my outlook was uplifted by a young clerk, a girl this time, helping an older man out to his car. He only had two bags, but was having some difficulty walking, and seemed to be relishing his cheery conversation with this young lady. Thanks to her kindness, I forgot my annoyance and headed home with a better outlook on the day ahead.