Every shopper has a story

I was waiting for a prescription at Target the other day, just sitting on a bench next to the pharmacy, too tired to read or text or pay attention to much of anything.  So I just watched people.

A mother with one toddler in the cart, one hanging off the handle trying to bend back as far as she could without falling.  Another mother threatening a toddler that if he didn’t sit down in the cart there would be no action figures for him.  Two teenagers dragging along, seeming to look at nothing, or everything. A middle-aged man taking his time in the cold and flu aisle.  I worried that he was sick, or maybe his wife was sick, or child.  I sent him love in my thoughts.

Further down I could see into the card aisle.  There was a young man, smartly dressed, who took his time looking for a card.  For a girl?  For his mother? Whoever it was for was someone he cared for, someone important, someone he wanted to find just the right words for.  Lucky person to be thought so much of.  When he finally selected one and walked off in his expensive looking jeans, he was smiling.  I hoped the recipient appreciated the thought he put into that selection.

Then another mother, dressed in a T-shirt I can only imagine was not her best with a whining 10-year-old behind her. I thought, “That girl just wants some attention. She doesn’t really want the purse, or the earrings or the makeup.  She just wants you. Take her to Starbucks after and just sit down with her awhile.”

Then I smiled to myself.  No one should ever take parenting advice from me.

I remembered a day some months ago, one of the lowest days in my life, when I had stopped in a grocery store.  I had not had a kind word from another human being the whole of that day, and as I went to leave the store, a woman, who no doubt was paid to do so, told me to “have a nice day.” I’ve heard that greeting a thousand times from a thousand strangers, probably deemed it insincere more times than not, but from this tall, thin, brown-haired woman, it felt like a life-line.

There is kindness in the world.

I nearly stopped and hugged her, but I didn’t want to scare her.  I settled on thanking her instead.  And I have never meant the words “Thank you” more than I did on that occasion.

Ahh.  My prescription was ready.

“Do you have any questions for the pharmacist, Amanda?”

(How kind that she noted my name.) “No, thank you.”


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