Today while at an extremely busy store I witnessed something while waiting in line and wanted to share the warmth. A petite, older female cashier was checking out an elderly gentleman who was probably in his late 80’s. He had one item, his total was $1.08, and he was meticulously counting out his change (pennies and dimes) with shaking fingers. She was patient and warm, reassuring him and helping him to count.
He apologized several times for the delay, and customers behind us appeared less than amused. The store was packed with last minute Christmas shoppers, and I’m sure we were all eager to get on with our days. Towards the end of the transaction, she thanked the veteran for his service to our country after recognizing his hat. He seemed surprised, but then she went even further above and beyond. She leaned in and quietly asked him, “Have you had a hug recently?” He cocked his head to the side and smiled politely, slightly embarrassed and responded with “No ma’am, I can’t say that I have. It’s been…quite awhile.”
The woman asked, “Would it be ok if I gave you a hug before you leave?” He nodded and I distinctly saw the man’s lower lip quiver slightly. The small woman walked confidently around the counter towards the old man and gave him a big, warm hug – oblivious to the waiting customers. She told him to have a nice rest of his day and he told her to do the same. That man slowly shuffled out of the store with the brightest smile I have seen on someone who wasn’t a child on Christmas morning. It was beautiful, compassionate, and profound in its simplicity.
After we checked out the woman handed me my receipt, providing the same warmth and service she had given the old man before me. I leaned in, “You made that man’s day today, and it made mine to see it. Thank you for your kindness.” She patted my hand, winked, and said, “Oh, thank you honey. You never know who really needs a hug. I try to give one when I feel it is needed. Pay that forward whenever you can, and Merry Christmas.”
And that is how you acquire life lessons from a ray of sunshine at the dollar store. Hope it warms you up during this cold transition from 2018 into 2019.
P.S. In the new year, when YOU have the option to either sit back and observe, do nothing, or engage with those around you… I hope you choose kindness and spread your warmth to others. You will never regret those actions, but will definitely regret not doing more when you had the chance.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!