“I am nothing but a pure !##$%!” I exclaimed to my daughter after yet again another encounter with a rude clerk at our local big box store. “I guess I expect too much.”
My daughter laughed. No,” she said. “You are just tired of being treated like one.”
I know people cannot often “see” a person’s disability, and jump in to help the soul. But once in a while, it would be nice if people could stand up for “The Golden Rule.” Most of us were taught this in school, so many others learned it in Sunday school; the one from the Bible; “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.” That’s the one.
I had just about given up this week before the week really got started. My Sunday evening that had no mistakes in it yet was halted by a dead car battery. My daughter and I were “coerced” by our 5 pound puppy dog, into an evening ride around town. All dressed up and nowhere to go as my daughter turned the key and…nothing.
I won’t go into details, but let’s just say our car manufacturers “roadside assistance,” was more headache than the dead battery. Monday morning was turning me into that nasty word mentioned above. I was feeling like the world was against me. My tremors began to expose themselves as the worst part of me fumed and prepared for the worst. Luckily, the car only had a dead battery, and nothing more, but the hit to my purse didn’t make me feel any less !@#$%^!
With a new battery, my daughter suggested we grab a bite to eat. It was lunchtime by now and we were not without a coupon from Hardees in the glove compartment, so we worked our way through the lunchtime crowd of locals and construction workers for a Thickburger. I grabbed a seat while my daughter placed our order and filled our drinks. Maybe a little food and a pause in the day would make me feel better and forget about my troubles. It didn’t work.
My burger was a bit overdone with condiments and the heavy mayo was making it impossible to keep the sandwich together. With my trembling hands, getting the slippery burger to my mouth was a challenge I couldn’t take on. I asked my daughter if she could return the burger and ask the manager if I could have a fresh bun. One with less condiments.
My daughter returned. “They’re making you a new sandwich,” she said. “They were really nice about it.”
“That’s a switch,” I said with a sharpness on my tongue. My daughter nodded in agreement.
A minute later, a smiling face brought back a new burger and apologized for the old one. “I am sorry about that. I understand how hard it is to eat such a big burger like that, and when it’s got too much on it…”
I took hold of the young lady’s arm. “Oh, it’s okay,” I said. “It’s just that my hands shake real bad and it’s hard for me to hold a sandwich sometimes.” The lady smiled and leaned over to me. “Would you like me to cut it in half for you? Would that make it easier?”
I was stunned. “Yes,” I said quickly. “That would be heaven.”
The manager disappeared back into the kitchen and left me and my daughter dumbfounded. We looked at each other in amazement sharing our thoughts and wonder at that level of consideration, especially in a fast-food restaurant. Those encounters are so rare in today’s world that we find ourselves a loss for words.
It shouldn’t be like that. Kindness for others should be the norm, not the exception. But with our fast-food, big box store, giant supermarket world, corporations are more concerned with dollar signs than customer service. It is a real shame. Especially for those of us on budgets and fixed incomes to which these establishments cater, we find ourselves prepared for a consumer experience that is wrought with moody teens who believe this is their world and the rest of us are just taking up space in it, and frustrated souls tired of trying.
I remember days gone by when our local “supermarket,” was the corner store. My mother, who was often house-bound, would call up the store manager and tell him what she needed. Soon came a knock at the door and the manager, loaded down with groceries, appeared. A thank you ma’am always followed. He did that for all his customers. If someone needed groceries sent to them, he closed up for as long as it took for him to deliver to his customers, then returned and opened for business again. Those days are long gone.
The manager returned with my burger, neatly cut in half and still wearing a smile. I thanked her, along with my daughter. We chatted briefly before about this and that, (this is the South after all), getting to know one another a bit before the young lady excused herself and returned to her duties.
My day lightened and it was all my daughter and I could talk about on the way home. Once in a while, even in today’s society, kindness reigns.