October 15, 2017
Hi, Subscribers and welcome to my many new ones!
This blog is composed of several small anecdotal things that I have experienced while interacting with other people. (Sorry, nothing sexy.)
For example, when I go grocery shopping, I get the things I need, pay for them, and leave. One day, it occurred to me that I wasn’t really paying attention to the cashiers and baggers. They all have name tags, so I made point of saying their name. When the cashier is finished, I now say: “Thank you, Linda.” When the bagger loads my cart, I walk out with them and make a point of saying “Thanks, Bob” and then asking personal questions such as: “How long have you worked here? or, “Are you a college student?” That usually jump starts a lively conversation.
One young girl told me she had a four year scholarship to our local college, but had to drop out because her mother was very sick. I found out she had moved to the USA from South America, was the first person in her family to go to college, and wanted to become a nurse. I asked more about her mother and found out she was dying of cancer and needed someone to take of her. But, she had a sister and brother who all took turns caring for her. I felt awful for her, but she seemed optimistic about her life. I ended the conversation with: “Thanks for your help Alexa, and I’m sorry about your mom.” Many times the conversations go on for 10 minutes.
If you are wondering how I can tie up an employee with those conversations, it’s because I go to Publix supermarket. They want their baggers to help customers roll out their carts to their car and put their groceries in the trunk. They also have a policy that the bagger is supposed to give you a snappy looking coupon for a specific thing when you come back. So, I start talking with them as we exit the store. Sometimes they will stick around to tell me other things, and we keep talking.
I spoke with a very animated man who told me he had recently requested a transfer to this particular Publix after working for them in another state for four years. I said: “You must really like working here!” His eyes lit up and said yes, that they treated him very well, and scheduled him so he could take classes at the junior college during the day. I can’t remember what else he said, but I got the impression a girlfriend was involved.
I was in a strip mall and walked passed an elderly gentleman who was wearing a baseball cap with NAVY printed on it. I stopped him and asked if he had served in the Navy. He said yes, and I shook his hand and said “Thank you for serving.” He stared hard at me and then said: “You are the first person who has said that to me.” Oh, man. What do you say after that? I told him I was sorry to hear that and walked away. That short conversation will stay in my memory forever.
Okay, another grocery store incident: (If you pay attention, a lot of action goes on in there.)
I walked into Publix and saw several firefighters of various ages huddled together. I said loudly: “Ridgewood Fire Department?” They turned in mass, which was a little intimidating, and said yes. I walked up to the youngest one and gently tapped him on his back and said: “Thank you for what you do.” He looked at the other men then back at me. He seemed surprised and confused. I told him: “I am thanking you because you risk your life to save mine, and a fireman did save my life when I was six.”
I didn’t go into a lot of detail about it, but I am going to tell you the backstory to it.
When I was six years old, the roof of our house caught on fire because our fireplace did not have a safety cap on it and something flew up the chimney and got stuck on the roof. I heard the firetruck coming, and my parents calling my name. I ran upstairs and hid in a long wooden box with a hinged lid on it that we used to store blankets and games. I wasn’t scared about the fire. I was terrified my parents would find out I had been playing with matches in the backyard and that I caused the fire. I heard my parents shouting my name and firefighters coming up the stairs and one coming into the room where I was hiding.
Suddenly the lid of the box opened and a huge man with all kinds of fire gear pulled me out and I started to cry. He yelled: “I found her!” and he took me outside where my parents were. I was crying and shaking and everyone made a fuss to help calm me down. But, once outside, I saw this massive firetruck with lights flashing, huge hoses running across the lawn, ladders being set up and that really freaked me out.
I started to shake like crazy and screamed “I am sorry!! I am really sorry!!” “I didn’t mean to do it!!” My parents told me it was not my fault, but I said it was my fault because I had been playing with matches in the backyard in the morning. WELL….later that night, I survived a blistering lecture from my parents.
An interesting aside to this is that our paperboy was the one who discovered the fire. The newspapers got a hold of that and ran with it. He had his picture in the paper and a nice article about being a hero.
The following has nothing to do with this blog. I just wanted to tell you about it because I thought it was really cool. Do any of you watch the History channel? They had a short episode about the very early cars and that drivers were crashing into each other because they could not gauge where they were on the road. So, a high school teacher came up with the solution. She took a large piece of chalk, got down on her knees and actually drew a wide thick center line on a road. It worked and that’s how those yellow lines got started.
If you can afford it, put a few dollars or your coin change from grocery shopping into the box they have at check-out for the Red Cross, helping victims of the hurricanes, and the fires in California.
Thanks for reading.
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