As Time Goes By*

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It’s no secret that I generally dislike my crap part-time job. As soon as I have completed my last shift and have run out the door laughing I’ll fully explain why, but until then just know that it’s just not usually a terribly lovely place to work.

But every once in a while something happens that makes me grateful that I was there in that moment.

Today I had such a moment. In the midst of a crazy hectic shift where I had nearly lost all faith in humanity and was convinced that there was a sign somewhere outside the door that read “We don’t like manners in here! Come on in and be RUDE! We looooooove rude! And mean! WOO”.

Seriously. People were just not happy today. Which makes me not happy. And I don’t like that.

And then this little old man came in. He poked around the store for a while before finally bringing up his cart to the front. He had a random collection of items and spent no more than 12 dollars. When he came up, quietly smiled and said “Hello”, I was seriously taken aback. (Someone talking TO me and not AT me? Whoa. Progress!)

I decided to forget allllllll the meanness I had just encountered and poured all the goodness I had left in me into making his stay at my store a pleasant one. As I was helping him put his things into a box, he softly said, “This is my first time shopping, you know.”

I took that to mean that it was his first time shopping in my store, so I laughed a little and congratulated him on finding the best things in the store to buy on his first visit.

He looked up at me, gave me a small, sad smile and said, “Thank you… my wife usually did all the shopping. She just passed away and this is my first time.”

My heart lurched into my throat and I choked out my apologies for his loss as he continued, looking at his wedding band: “We were married for 67 years. She was my best friend.”

Then this wonderful man who had just lost the love of his life began to cry at my cash register. It was every thing I could do to not run around the counter and hug him… but he smiled through his tears, gave me a little wave and hurried out the door.

The customer behind him was already throwing her items at me before I could do anything more, and I nearly forgot about it until a few minutes ago when this song came on my random iTunes shuffle:

I’m so thankful that I had that one, small moment today to catch a glimpse of real, life-long love and remember that there are still good people in the world. I just hope that was I able to offer a small bit of kindness to him as he goes through this difficult time.

Not that I’m rushing old age, but I honestly can’t wait to grow old with the Hubster. He is my best friend and the love of my life. (and we do our grocery shopping together.)

Where there is love, there is life*

Five years down, sixty-two to go. :)

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11 Comments

  • Cammy@ClassroomConfessions

    This is a beautifully sweet post. It seriously brought tears to my eyes. In high school, I worked at a local drug store where there were a lot of elderly in the community. It was so sad to see them go through the loss of their spouses and friends. I think that what this all highlights is that in life, the most important thing is who you spend it with and what you spend it doing. Great story!

  • Bluebelle

    That so beautifully sad. I remember working in a supermarket and every now and again there was that one moment where someone reminded you that people are good and kind and loving. Thanks for sharing this one!

  • Rhianimator

    oh my god, i totally just started crying at work in front of my students!!!! i'm such a baby, i totally would have cried if i was in your position- i cant handle people crying, especially old people. even just cute old people make me want to cry. so sad and cute :(

  • Amber

    Awwww. That is just so sad. There's something REALLY sad when the wife passes on first I think. I don't know why, but I find a widower so much more depressing than a widow (not that both aren't incredibly depressing!)

  • Date Girl

    Oh I just got big tears in my eyes. How bittersweet. I know what you're saying about you and Hubster. I can't wait to grow old with Match-I don't want to rush it, but I love the idea of being together til we're old and gray, toddling around in the grocery store. Love that song too! I plan on dancing to it at our reception!

  • Shop Girl*

    I know, it breaks my heart to see little old men by themselves. I have such a soft spot for them… like I want them all to be my grandpa so we can hang out. haha

  • Shop Girl*

    Awww hahaha I didn't mean to make you cry!! I probably would have cried if another horrible customer hadn't come up immediately after… ugh.

  • TeachingInHeels

    What a wonderful story…I definitely think of the man from the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” putting flowers out each day. Anyway, very touching.

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