I went to Kroger today to buy some food items. As I was perusing the aisles, unfamiliar with this particular Kroger, I noticed a woman. She was older, maybe late 60s early 70s, a light shade of brown, with her hair in tight curls. She was riding in one of those extremely slow electric wheel chairs. I passed her a few times, in one row or another. She didn’t stand out to me much at that point, except for the fact that she was slow moving and I thought, “I bet that gets annoying.”
I’m young now, but I know I won’t always be. She probably used to think the same thing. It’s funny how fast life moves, isn’t it?
Once I began to check out, I saw the wheel-chair woman headed out the door. Her husband, a dark and wrinkled fellow, pulled up in a white Oldsmobile. I watched as he slowly got out of the car, a painful arch in his back, and he carefully shuffled towards the basket to put the groceries in the car. A girl, not much younger than I am, walked up from the parking lot just as I exited the store. She was headed directly towards the man and woman, both struggling to lift even one bag of groceries out of the cart.
I stopped in the doorway to see what was happening- I don’t know why, I just knew to stop and watch.
She spoke quietly to him, I didn’t hear her. But I saw him nod and smile as she gently took the bag that he was straining to hold. With ease, she grabbed the rest of the groceries, maybe eight bags worth, and unloaded them from the basket attached to the electric wheel chair. Carefully she placed them in the trunk of the car. As the man shuffled back to the driver side, and the woman braced herself on the passenger side, the man hollered out in a deep Southern drawl, “God brings saints in time of need. You are a saint.”
The girl was shocked and obviously felt unworthy of such a label. She stared down at her feet and said, “Well, I don’t know about that ….. “
Immediately, he looked her in the eyes and said, “No, you are. A saint.” With that he smiled that telling smile that only comes with age, and got in the car.
Her kind actions gave them a respite in what appeared to be a difficult late adult life. I wish I would have thought of it myself.
The girl’s next move amazed me. She didn’t walk in the grocery store. She sat down in the electric wheel chair and drove it over to the docking place.
Here what I think- I think his kind words built her up and caused her to become who he thought she was. She may not be a saint, I don’t know. But because he said she was, she decided to act like it.
And it was my pleasure to see this unfold. I am changed. And I wasn’t even a part of the moment. As far as they knew, at least. How often does that happen? That someone is watching? That my behavior not only affects the person that I am dealing with, but the people around?
Maybe today, you will have a chance to help someone out. Maybe today, you’ll have a chance to tell someone else who they really are.
Live with love. Speak with love.
It makes a difference.