I only had 4 items on my list. The sun was shining, and the temperature was so warm I didn’t need a jacket. Exceptionally nice in early January.
The parking lot had a convenient spot just for me — a sure sign that this wasn’t one of those wild and woolly days when the whole world needed groceries. It would be a quick in and out, and I’d be back home in no time.
And, that’s what happened . . . with a few heartwarming encounters along the way.
Steve and I like sharing an apple with almond butter while watching television at night, so my first stop was the produce section. I was happily bagging my Gala apples ($.99 a pound) when I spotted Becky, an employee at the store I’ve seen forever. She’s one of those who is always friendly and always remembers my name. I said, “Becky, how long have you been working here?” She said, “44 years.” Can you imagine that?? I think it says a LOT about Becky AND the Kroger company that they could instill that kind of loyalty for such a long time. I said, “Wow, that’s almost as long as Steve has been practicing veterinary medicine!” Becky asked how he was doing, told me how kind she thought he was and asked about the children. We shared grandchildren numbers. I won the count, of course. Our conversation was brief but so indicative of how it feels to be back in a town that knows who I am and seems glad to see me.
A few aisles further, I saw a former student stocking shelves and thought about what a tall, strapping young man he has turned out to be. I went through the self check-out but took a few seconds to wave to one of the checkers who was actually in the same youth group with my kids several decades ago. She always greets me happily.
On my way to the car, I stopped to allow the car beside mine to back out. After backing out only a few feet, I caught sight of the driver and recognized her as a senior adult in my church who taught my daughters in GAs when they were children. In turn, I was HER daughter’s piano teacher. Bless her. Seeing me must have distracted her because when she backed out, she backed a little too far and hit a parked truck behind her.
Yikes! I had just witnessed a crash and had 10 frozen items in my cart. (Yes, I know I said I only had 4 items on my original list. Judge not). Somebody’s tail-light was now in pieces, but it took a minute to see whose it was. The lady sitting in the parked truck got out. I held my breath. But, instead of watching an angry tirade, I saw an example of extreme graciousness and kindness. Amazingly, no one was upset. Her truck, as it turned out, only got a tiny scratch. It was the GA leader’s tail-light that was busted.
I knew both of the ladies. They were kind and pleasant to each other, exchanging names, etc. My GA leader friend caused a chuckle by saying, “Don’t worry. I’m in good hands. I have All-State!” I guess nothing beats a positive attitude and good car insurance, right?
Anyway. The whole grocery trip took less than 30 minutes, but it was one of those times when you’re just glad to be where you are at a particular moment and happy to interact with so many good people in such a short time.
I want to always be thought of as one of those good people, don’t you? The kind of person who does not respond angrily when a mishap occurs. The kind who stops to ask about what is happening in another person’s life and is quick to share sincere compliments.
Let’s do our part to make the world a better place in 2019. It starts with little acts of kindness and grows.
Ephesians 4:32 – “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Romans 12:10 – “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
Galatians 5:22-23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
FYI — Quick explanation for those of you who didn’t grow up as Southern Baptists. GAs was/is an organization designed to educate young girls about missions and missionaries, encourage participation in mission projects and promote Bible memorization. The letters used to stand for Girls Auxiliary, although no one that age knew what the word “auxiliary” meant. It was later changed to Girls in Action. The organization had a PROFOUND impact on my life.