Gosh, that boy sure was cute.
On paper it sounds like a small thing, but last night something happened that really touched my heart. I was shopping at the 24-hour grocery store in my neighborhood. It was about 3:30am. I picked up eggs, two Navel oranges, a box of Cocoa Krispies, one chicken-flavored package of Ramen and one beef-flavored. Faith Hill’s “This Kiss” was on the radio. I sang along while perusing aisles. I squeezed past a man restocking bread. I brought my items to the checkout.
At the checkout counter, my interaction with the man was standard. He unloaded the items from my basket, scanned them, bagged them, and took my debit card. He handed me my receipt and said, “Have a good night.” This is the moment when he would in theory go back to reading a magazine, or texting on his phone, or staring blankly ahead with his elbows on the counter and his head in his hands. Instead, he saw me reach for my bags, and he saw that I was wearing mittens, so he gathered the loops of the plastic grocery bags and he secured them over my mittened hands.
It wasn’t just what he did, it was the way he did it. So casually. As casually as he’d handed me the receipt.
Only handing me my receipt is part of his job.
As I walked home, grocery bags hanging from my mittens, I kept thinking about it. And I also thought about my reaction. I was surprised that in that moment, I hadn’t snipped at him, “I can do it myself!” The truth is, I really could have picked up the bags despite the mittens. And I was kind of proud of myself. Because sometimes it takes humility to accept kindness. To accept help from others. To accept that we’re not powerful and strong and in control all the time. And that just because someone is offering their help, doesn’t mean they think you can’t do it.
This is probably a concept most people just understand. The mitten incident gelled it for me, though. And it also made me want to make a genuine effort to be that kind of kind myself. The checkout guy at grocery store kind of kind.