Friday, May 11, 2012

The Customer And The Cashier

Friday evening brings the much anticipated trip to the local Starbucks for my much beloved Mocha Frappachino Grande.  After a long long week of testing at school, way too many customers and no where near enough sleep to keep up with the demands of work, getting this delicious shot of caffeine so that I can enjoy my evening at home is something I look forward to at the end of the work week.  Its what I do, what I do for me.  Its my selfish trip and self indulgence.

Before I went to Starbucks, I needed a few things and figured I would stop at the local Dollar General here in town.  I entered the store and immediately saw how crowded it was.  Apparently, I wasn't the only one in need of a few items tonight.  My son and I made a quick trip through the store, securing things I had mentally listed in my head all week and then headed for the check out line.

Now there is something unique and special about My Town.  There is a kindness and a kinship that exists.  Perhaps it was inflated by the Fires of last fall when we all shared a common loss of possessions and security. Whatever the reason and when it began doesn't really matter as much as the fact it exists.  Everyone kind of knows everyone or of everyone and sometimes familiarity never even comes into play.  Tonight was an example.

As I stood in line, I wasn't really paying attention to the conversation going on ahead of me between the woman Customer and the female Cashier.  There was alot of activity and alot of hugging and greeting amongst friends.  That's kind of the way it goes in My Town.

As I stood there, I caught bits and pieces of the words exchanged between these two woman, the Customer and Cashier.  The Cashier had mentioned that she had had a harried trip in to work as she discovered she had a flat tire and had to quickly find a ride to the store.   I stood there with my small basket of things and waited patiently for the check out area to clear and as the lady ahead of me concluded her transaction and was preparing to leave, the Customer handed the Cashier some money and said "This is a little something towards your new tire".

Of course the Cashier hesitated to take the money but the Customer insisted and I watched as the Cashier put the extra money in her pocket.  I watched as she tried to process my purchases but that simple unexpected act of kindness had overwhelmed her.  She tried to focus but hard as she tried, her hands trembled and she apologized for her distraction.  I told her " You just never know when or where blessings will come from".  She said "That's so true, that was just the kindest thing.  I have a tire I need to replace and this will be the first Mother's Day I won't spend with my kids."

Her age told me that her kids were probably older, maybe grown and gone from home and for some reason, she was alone, alone with a flat tire and probably not enough money to handle life's hurdles.

She continued to struggle and I saw her fight the tears as she concluded tallying my purchases.  "That will be $16.34" she said.  I handed her a twenty and she gave me my change.  "Thank you and  Happy Mother's Day." she told me.  I took my change and then reached into my wallet and pulled out another twenty, put it down on the counter and said "I hear you need a new tire, put this towards it."

She just looked at me and I just smiled.  The line of customers erupted into joyous laughter at her amazement of what was happening.  Their sound was as unique as the moment. We all knew we were making something special happen.  My Son and I grabbed our bags and as we headed for the door,  I turned to the Cashier and said "This is what its all about" and with that we left.

I  have no idea what happened when I left the store but I think there was a line of people who were not finished surprising this unsuspecting Cashier who had come to work with frayed nerves and worries of unexpected expenses this day had laid upon her shoulders.

Out of all the blessings this day brought me, none is more special than the moment I was led to the Dollar General on the way to Starbucks because nothing means more than helping someone who never expected it. I experienced a Spontaneous Collective Random Act of Kindness.  I will never forget it and neither will those who either participated or were witnesses.

I think tomorrow Vera will have her new tire.


1 comment:

  1. I love it! I love that it happened, and how it worked out. Too cool. That's a day the cashier won't soon forget. :)