Confession: I have a soft spot for little old men.
I always have–there’s just something about a grandpa (in my family we call our grandpas “Gumpo”) that warms my heart like no other. Don’t get me wrong, I have the most wonderful grammys in the world–including my 94 year old Grammy who is the cutest person EVER and has more of a social life than I do–but I find myself trying to collect grandpas all over the place.
I have church grandpas, school grandpas and work grandpas, to name a few.
My work grandpas are really what get me through the day at my crap part-time job. They come in, are friendly and funny and do what they can to brighten my day without even knowing the effect they have. Sometimes they make cute comments and connections to my real name (which is of a European origin)– I’ve heard some hilarious stories of women they knew in their youth who also had my name. They chat about the weather, their grandkids, what’s on sale and the state of affairs in the world.
My favourite visits of the day are always with my work grandpas.
As little old men in the store almost always brighten my day, I always try and go that extra mile for them while we chat. I usually tell them about our best deals, am extra friendly at the register and even bag their groceries for them as they leave. One of my favourite grandpas always harassed me about why I worked where I work after learning that I had a university education. When I explained the current job market for teachers in Ontario he went on a big lovely rant about how those hiring guys didn’t know what they were missing. Every week when we came in he asked me if I had been able to find a teaching job yet–and when I finally answered YES he did a little dance and cheered.
I love my work grandpas.
Yesterday I think I found a new work grandpa, and he may be the cutest of all.
I began my shift at 11am and quickly got to work. Not long after I started a little old man came up to the register to check out. We chatted for a minute while I completed his order, then he gave me a big friendly smile and waved as he hurried out the door. I started serving the next customer when I noticed a black wallet sitting on the counter. I asked the woman I was helping if it belonged to her, and when she shook her head I knew it had to belong to the gentleman I had just served. I waved to a coworker to come take over for me and I rushed out the door.
After a quick scan of the parking lot I saw him at the opposite end of the plaza. I took off running and caught up with him just as he was about to enter another store. I called out to him a few times (I think he must have been a bit hard of hearing) and finally he turned around.
Me: “Excuse me sir, is this your wallet?”
Old Man: (patting his pocket) “Oh my goodness! It is! Did I leave it with you?”
Me: “I found it on my counter and thought you might be missing it.”
Old Man: “And you ran all the way here? Why, thank you miss. I never leave it, I must be getting old!”
Me: “Not a problem–it was my pleasure.”
Old Man: “Thank you again, not many people would have done that. I really appreciate it.”
I slowly walked back to my store, feeling good about my good deed of the day. As soon as I got back a whirlwind of customers blew in threw the doors and I completely forgot about it.
Sometime around 4:30pm I was very ready to be done my shift. As I hauled boxes from a cart I heard the front door open and I turned around. There was my old man friend, beckoning me to come over. He had his wallet in hand.
Old Man: “After you brought my wallet back to me this morning, I couldn’t stop thinking about what a nice thing it was that you did.”
Me: “Really, it wasn’t any trouble. I’m just glad that I caught you!”
Old Man: “I went home, but I just had to come back to thank you again.”
(He began pulling money from his wallet and held it in my direction.)
Old Man: “Please, I wanted to give you something to say thank you.”
Me: “Oh goodness sir, you don’t have to do that! I was happy to be able to help.”
He stood there for a minute, befuddled that I didn’t take the money. After trying one last time he tucked it back in his wallet, gave me a small grateful smile and thanked me one last time before going out the door. He couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t accept the money for a bit of service I was happy to give, and I can’t believe that he came back so many hours later to thank me again.
Small moments, right?
Thank goodness for work grandpas. :)