Please enjoy this repost from last November 6, 2012. I thought it was worthy of revisiting today, November 6, 2013. Always a good reminder, especially during the holiday season kickoff. xo, DG
Today I had to do a mega-shopping at our local wholesale club.
It was one of those shoppings where I needed everything. Paper towels, TP, napkins, all things great and small that keep my household running.
I had my four year old with me, which is always pleasant. (Mommm...I'm hungry, are we done yet, this is boring...)
We were making our way through the bread aisle when an elderly woman was stopped in the middle of the aisle. I waited for a moment because I know she didn't realize she was in my way. I stood, pleasantly, patiently, waiting for her to move. Finally she glanced at me, slowly pushed her cart, and gave me a dirty look. Always being the first to apologize, I quickly and softly said, "excuse us" for what I have no idea, but she was old so I thought I would just be kind.
We finished up our shopping and headed to the checkout line. There was only ONE open. Fine. No problem. We'll wait.
I had a FULL cart that I knew would take a while to ring in, and I turned and saw the elderly woman huffing and puffing behind me. My first thought was, there is no way I am going to let grouchy grandma go ahead of me after the look she gave me a little while ago. But alas, the good side of me said - ohh just let her go ahead.
Next thing I know, I hear myself sweetly saying, "you know what, I have a lot of stuff in my cart, and you just have a few things, why don't you go ahead of me.."
She barely acknowledged me, just about ran over my 4 year old, and pushed ahead. Now I was kind of pissed because if she couldn't muster up a thank you, then a smile would've been nice. But no. Nothing.
It was our turn next. The checkout girl got us right through, quickly and efficiently. We were on our way out the door. We head to the car, and who do we see? Grouchy grandma...just 2 cars down from ours. She is having a hell of a time trying to get the cat food and litter from her cart to her little Subaru stationwagon. Here we go again. No, no, no. I'm not going for the trifecta of niceness. I am going to get my car loaded and go.
"Would you like some help with that litter? I know, it's really heavy and hard to lift!"
She looked at me, with a very sad look. "That would be really nice of you. My husband was usually the one to do it, but he passed away a few weeks ago, and this is my first time here without him."
I told her how very sorry I was and loaded her car. She grabbed on to her cart suddenly as if she was going to fall, and I shot up from the trunk of her car to make sure she was ok. She was not. She was sobbing uncontrollably. I rubbed her arm and said it would all be ok and that's when she lunged forward and hugged me.
My poor little man in the cart didn't know what to do when he saw her crying so he looked at her and said, "I like your car." It was perfectly innocent and well-timed. Even his heart broke for her.
She looked at him and smiled and said, "I like your car, too." (He was in one of those obnoxious red race car-shopping carts.)
"Thank you for stopping to help me. This has been a really hard couple of weeks, and I just miss him so much. After so many years, it's just really hard to learn to live without someone."
I did everything I could to choke back the tears. I stood there with her for a few minutes, made sure she got in her car ok, and waved to her as she drove off.
What a lesson in kindness. My inner voice told me not to be nice to her for the third time, but my heart moved my legs right to her car to help.
In a world where our patience is tested daily, hourly, by the minute even, it is so easy to get wrapped up in drama or sucked in to someone else's poison. My challenge to you is to make the choice to walk away from the negativity, choose the high road, give someone the benefit of the doubt, and be kind.
Sometimes you just have to listen to your heart.
Until next time...