Day 530: Salad days

You know those times that you sense someone needs a little more of your time? That happened to me today at lunch.

I bought a salad at a place I’ve never been to before. It was the end of the lunch rush and although there was no one else in this place, the young Asian woman taking my order looked exhausted. I asked her if she’d had a busy day and she suddenly perked up.

She seemed to be delighted to have someone to talk to and we ended up chatting about how busy it had been just minutes earlier, the crazy weather and how particular some customers are about the amount of salad dressing they get.

I had meant to just rush in and out of the place but once she was on a roll, she was on a roll!

When I came across the following story at the great helpothers.org site, I thought of my salad-making friend and all the customers she crosses paths with each day:

A supermarket checkout clerk with a special touch
by wayfarer

In front of me in line at the supermarket today were a woman and her young (maybe around 10 year old) daughter. As part of their shopping they were buying a DVD, which had to be brought from elsewhere in the shop.

While the checkout operator was scanning and bagging the rest of the shopping she chatted with the mother about grandkids and other stuff.

I just happened to be looking at the daughter when another member of staff brought her the DVD. The girl’s face really lit up with delight and appreciation. Sad to say, it’s not a sight you see so often.

When it came my turn to be served I commented on the girl’s obvious happiness with her DVD. “She has special needs,” the checkout operator told me. “I’m not sure what the problem is, but …”

She went on to explain that problems had arisen in the past with checkout operators holding things too long, folding things the “wrong” way, and so on. Minor incidents like those had been known to really upset the girl. And, of course, that upset the mother.

But there hadn’t been any sign of upset. How had they got over the problem? Now, it seems, the mum always brings her daughter and her trolley to this same checkout lady. No matter how long the queue.

“I know what’s ‘allowed,’ ” the checkout lady said.

But there had been no hint of any special considerations while I watched. All I saw was friendly chatter, a comfortable mother and a very happy girl! It was nothing much, but at the same time it was a big deal. It was a moment of love and kindness that would have passed me by if I hadn’t taken the time to chat.

How wonderful, I thought, to be the person that people with problems seek out, because they just know that you will ease them through the day with a smile.

Of course I told her that! And she just waved it away with a smile.

P.S. Here’s Alison Krauss and Robert Plant’s “Please Read the Letter.” Enjoy!

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