March 12 – (and now, the third and concluding episode of Hugs and Kindness)Awhile back when Dale and I had finished shopping at the local Price Chopper store, we were going through line with our groceries. As usual we were in the line served by one of our good friends. And again as usual, he knew from many past experiences that he would get a big hug from me and a handshake from Dale.
Just as my hug was being delivered, I could hear a comment from a lady in two lanes away from us. Talking quite loudly she called out, “If you’re passing out hugs, I sure could use a couple!” Well, I thought that was unusual. Since Dale was right there behind me, he picked up the bags from the cart, while I delivered several hugs to the lady who had asked for one! It was easy to see the huge and friendly smile on her face while she told me how much she appreciated that hug! Yes, many people “out there” really do need some attention freely given!The boss looked at me a bit strangely and asked something like, “Is this called random acts of kindness?” I assured him that it was, and how it brought people together instead of pushing them away. Just then a short man with jet black hair came by. He takes canned pop to a list of stores in this area, traveling quite some distance. Awhile back, he told us that his mother wasn’t doing well, and I could tell that he was discouraged and worried about her. Every week since, we try to check in with him to see how things are going and to assure him of our prayers for his mother.
How did we become acquainted? One day he was putting the pop back in order in the display shelves. He reached way up to the top of those shelves and then made sure that all of the ones were in order right on down to the bottom shelf. “Well,” I told myself, “You need to thank him for a good job. Bet hardly anybody does that, and it might make him feel better and less tired.” Talk about a change! As I talked to him, he smiled and thanked me over and over for talking with him. Since then, he will track us down before we leave the store, just to say hi and hope we have a good day.In that same area a young girl works in the deli fixing up special foods like pies, rolls, fruit breads, etc. She is so cute and has a beautiful smile that lights up the area. Also working there is our friend Lola, who for some strange reason calls me, “Beautiful Lady!” No matter how many times I have tried to change her mind on that idea, she continues to call me “Beautiful Lady,” and comes quickly out from behind the counter to deliver a huge hug, to Dale and me! Such a lovely person with about THIRTEEN kids!
A couple weeks ago, when we were standing with one of the bosses talking about the news, an older lady came zooming in our direction. When she had stopped for a bit, she looked right at me, opened her arms for a big hug and asked, “Where’s my hug? That’s why I come to this store on Thursdays, because I know you will be here!” After a bit, she went on her way, pushing the cart, and smiling at everyone along the way!Just a quick note about Cheryl who leads out in changing the prices of various items when sales are going on. We hadn’t seen her for over a month as she recovered at home from surgery. I had just mentioned to Dale that it must be time for her to return to the store. As I talked with the girl who has been taking her place (well, nobody could do that), I happened to look down the aisle where a smiling lady was waving her arms up and down and hurrying toward us as fast as she could go! CHERYL! At last. I can’t remember which of us hugged the longest and hardest. Probably just about the same, but it was so good to see our friend of so many years and to learn that all is well with her!
And Robbie, head of the produce section! He always has a shy grin and welcomes us as long lost friends. He remarked that many folks simply choose to stay away from those who are doing their best to please their customers. Too much bother or maybe they don’t feel that they can take the time to give hugs and kind words.There are others, too, that I have written about before: Kim, the sweet and helpful young lady at the pharmacy window; Lenita, and Sieahna behind the customer service counter; Zach, the cheerful bagger who always does a special job; Scott, whose smile is shy, but so meaningful; and Richard and Dale who have somewhat recently started working at the check-out counters.
Sometimes I have a hard time trying to remember the names of new workers at Price Chopper, but not Richard or Dale! Why? First of all, Dale, tried to make us believe he was a parrot, as he talked with us as if he really were, screaming in that foreign language! Also, I could hardly forget his name when my Dale has the same one! Then Richard, so polite and helpful, has a name that is very common among my relatives! One brother and three nephews!
Then there are our good friends whom we have written about before: Clyde and Nan, Don and Ann, Dana and Dennis, Anita and Stan, and so many church and school folks that we consider ourselves really blessed to know and love them. We count them as very special and friendly, those who enjoy being with others and trying to be near and dear to each one. – CHRIS