She was being served at the checkout by a young woman in her early 20s. Her greasy hair matted to her head, her clothes had seen better days. Her child-like voice did not match her middle-aged appearance, and could be heard in the quiet store despite her obvious attempt to whisper.
Three people stood in the queue waiting to be served at the one open checkout, while a delivery man hovered to the side waiting for instructions on where to deposit the goods he’d brought from the young woman behind the checkout counter.
She told her story as her fingers nervously trailed along the counter edge and back. She had been removed from the list of customers of another pharmacy, she said. She had lost her phone number and because she was unable to be contacted for some time, they had removed her pharmaceutical history. Her voice trembled even as she forced a resigned smile on her face.
The young woman smiled at her and nodded, slowing her actions as she rung up the items, and listened.
She wanted someone to talk to, to share her tale and perhaps just needed some empathy for her situation. Whatever the reasons, she finished her tale and turned to leave. From the corner of her eye, she saw the people around her waiting. She stammered a “I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were waiting”.
Her embarrassment was meant with nods and someone said, “it’s okay, take your time”.
What was absent the entire time we were waiting in the queue were impatient fidgeting, sighs and grumblings. I’d like to believe that behind our face masks, we were smiling and I hope she saw the smiles in our eyes.
A spark of gladness filled my heart that a group of strangers had made her day a little better. Of this, I am certain.
I hope, well I know she felt kindness and generosity that morning, a connection to the humanity we are all capable of.
With COVID19 social restrictions in place, opportunities to experience such connection is greatly reduced but it is not entirely removed.
For the brief moments as we dashed in and out of stores, let’s pay attention to those moments that make us human. Let’s seek out opportunities to create some connection in ways, great or small.
And let’s share the sparks of gladness.
I told this very human story to my young adults. The stories we tell construct a reality, and I wish for theirs to be of what humanity is truly capable of – kindness and generosity.
What stories are you telling now?
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