February 4 – Life sure is a lot more fun when you can often connect with neat people! We meet them at church, in various stores, at the post office, at schools, and even at a gas station! Wherever we are, it seems as if folks are just waiting to make our day.
A couple days ago we were off the twenty-five miles or so to Lee’s Summit and a trip to Aldis. Being vegetarians, we always enjoy finding plenty of good lettuce, broccoli, peppers, cauliflower, and various fruits there. One of Dale’s favorites is the avocado, which he learned to like while in Africa. He enjoys mashing one up and spreading it on a couple slices of toast with a bit of salt. He is more than welcome to that food!
At HyVee, we found a great variety of dips, including toasted onion, ranch and pickle, and vegetable party which I bought for us, but jalapeno and salsa which will be enjoyed by our grandson Robbie. We have never quite figured out how or why people enjoy those last two dips. Next thing we know, someone will be making a ghost pepper dip–maybe it is a known product already.
Back to people we meet. As we left the dip area, we saw a big man with a really huge smile coming around the corner. I wondered immediately if he would recognize me as the one who gave him a hard time last week when he spoke at length to a guy about 10 feet away from him. When that conversation ended, I moved closer to the counter where he was counting or writing up something. “Hey,” I said, “that wasn’t very nice. You talked a long time with that man, and here I was right smack in front of you, and you never even said hello.”
“Well, that was a mistake,” he answered. “I should have greeted you, but didn’t. Sorry about that.” I could tell that he was one of the supervisors. Now here he was again, a week later, with the same smile and moving quickly to another part of the store to check up and make sure all was going well. I didn’t have to wait to find the answer! Stopping right in front of me, the man asked, “Well, how are you doing today? I remember your talking with me last week, and I’m not going to make the same mistake I did then. Hello, and welcome to HyVee!”
In one area we saw a short little lady moving a big pile of boxes around and then opening them and putting items on nearby shelves. “You sure are doing a good job,” I told her. “Looks as if you have plenty of work to do to keep busy.” I then stepped to her side, put my shoulder to hers, and said, “It sure is good to see people of my size now and again. I think all five-feet-tall folks work hard, just to keep up.” By this time she was smiling in agreement, and enjoying the bit of praise. As we left, she called back, “Thanks a lot! You really made my day!”
At Wal-Mart Dale was trying to find a pair of clippers to use in our bamboo patch, as the older ones are just about worn out. As we turned the corner to the hardware dept, we saw a kindly-looking man. Dale said, “Isn’t that the guy you like?” Sure it was. Several years ago we found that he knew where just about everything was. “OK, let’s go ask him, ” I suggested. When he saw us, he smiled and greeted us warmly. “Remember how you always find what we need?” I asked him. “Sure, what do you want me to find this time?” he asked. When Dale told him about the clippers, he said, “Well, I think they’re back in gardening, but I don’t think anyone’s in there yet. C’mon we’ll go back and check it out.” Up and down the aisles inside, but no clippers. Outside then, from one end of the area to the other. Just as he was about to give up, he came to a display with just a few pairs of clippers. “Here ya are, kids,” he said triumphantly. “Pick out what you want.” Since we don’t use that cutter very often except for special tasks, Dale was going to choose the least costly pair. “No. They’re no good,” cautioned the man. “Take something better than that; you’ll be glad you did.”
On the way back to the part of the store in which he worked, he told us that he would not see us again because he was retiring at the end of the week. Retiring! That guy who knew everything and could always help us! That was a blow, and I didn’t like the news at all. “What are you going to do?” I asked. “Do! I will always have plenty to do! We have the farm south of here, we still have our home in Arizona, and somebody always needs something. Such a kindly, really good, person, at age 84, with lots of stories to tell and one with a quiet smile, always! When Dale asked where he could find the kitty litter for our adopted stray cat, he gave concise directions that would lead us directly to the pet supply section. After giving him a big hug, I told him how much we had appreciated his help during the years, and thanked him once again for his kindness. Both of us will miss him, not just because he has helped us so much, but because he is a kindly pleasant man.
On our way out of the store, I noticed another good friend at the check-out counter. Dale had decided to get into a shorter line, so off he went with the clippers and other items, but I stayed behind, then hurried around the counter so I would be standing right behind her, waiting for her to turn around. I didn’t say a word, just stood there and waited. As she waited on the customer, she finally turned her head as she moved the bags around to make room for others. When she saw me, her mouth popped open, her eyes sparkled, and she smiled a typical smile! “I haven’t seen you in so long!” she gasped. “Where have you been?”
Before I answered, I hugged her and hugged her to show how glad I was to see her once again. Then I happened to think of the customer, patiently waiting! As I apologized for stealing her time, she said that she was so glad to see people hugging, as many don’t do that sort of thing any more. So I hugged her too, and we were all happy we have friends. The customer thought the worker must be one of my very special friends. When I told her we had no idea at all who the other one was, except that she worked at WalMart, and I shopped there, she was amazed! I knew she would be wondering how we could be such good friends when we didn’t even know the other’s name and address!
Yes, people are fun, friendly, gracious, and helpful, with most of them happy to hear a word of encouragement along with a friendly hug! – CHRIS