Friday, March 5, 2010

Contagious Kindness

I'm a routine gal. Friday mornings are reserved for grocery shopping. I selected Friday mornings because two kids are in school, meaning only two boy will accompany me throughout my shopping. The opportunity to bring just two kids to the grocery store increase the odds that I can actually make it through the store without any sort of incident or meltdown (I said increase not diminish!).

This morning I attempted a double-header: Target and Costco. I was pleasantly surprised that the journey through both stores was relatively uneventful. By the time we hit Costco, I was starting to lose my momentum. I was rushing through the aisles attempting to finish the shopping before anyone (namely me) lost it.

I entered the Costco check out line. Three lanes were open with long lines flanking each cashier's station. I entered lane two. Soon several more carts held their position behind us in the queue. The line was moving steadily forward until the cart in front of me reached the cashier. The female patron was attempting to make some obscure tender of payment that left the cashier looking perplexed and flustered. The manager was called, and the matter was attempting to get resolved. In the mean time, lane two was in a tizzy. I could see the steam rising from the heads of all the frustrated and impatient consumers. Loud sighs and angry grumbling could be heard.

There was still room on the conveyor belt, so I decided to start unloading my wares hoping to speed up the process. I was holding an angry toddler on one hip while trying to maneuver a 64 oz. bag of frozen broccoli onto the belt. From the back of the line a little old man made his way to my cart. He was definitely from the Greatest Generation. I imagined he was a shell of what he use to look like. He asked me if he could help and then proceeded to lift my groceries onto the belt. At first I looked at him with amazement. I think I had a better chance of lifting him onto the belt then watch him hoist my three dozen eggs from the cart to the counter. But, he lifted each and every object until the cart was empty and my groceries lay ready to scan.

I could feel the line start to quiet and the customers watch first in amazement and then in admiration. The angry murmurs subsided. I heard people say, "Wow," "How kind," "What a help." The kindness he displayed was contagious. I turned around to witness smiles, kind words exchanged, and people looking for other ways to support their neighbor.

That man taught us all a lesson on kindness by hardly saying a word.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, it is amazing how the little things can make such a difference. Hopefully some of those people carried it along!