A Cart Full Of Kindness – The Observer

It Hurts Here, There and Everywhere: Aches and Pains Not To Ignore
April 2, 2024
The Secret Garden – Chateau Chic
April 2, 2024
It Hurts Here, There and Everywhere: Aches and Pains Not To Ignore
April 2, 2024
The Secret Garden – Chateau Chic
April 2, 2024

Abstract blur supermarket retail and shopping mall interior for background

I’m a Sam’s junkie.

Honestly, it’s not that I want to be, it’s simply that our family goes through food like it’s free. Which it’s not, and our Sam’s bills testify to that fact. Not free. But all the people who live at my home (and their friends – just keeping that real) eat like there’s no tomorrow. I want to tell them all to quit eating to help us save money, but that’s probably not what teenage boys and girls want to hear.

So it’s off to Sam’s I go. (Also keeping it real – I do a lot of Sam’s orders that get direct delivered or picked up). But on the days when I go in, it’s not pretty. I’m distracted by the clothes, the décor, the gardening supplies.

Earlier this week, it was one of those days. The people I call my kids were texting me from school in the family group chat. (Anyone wish we were still in the ‘80s and kids couldn’t text you their requests from school? Just this mom? Ok then.) So they’re texting: “Mom, we need more muffins.” Next kid chimes in. “Also, those guacamole cup things. I like those on top of my rice cakes.” Next kid (the non-texter of the family) sends one word: Chips.

So I embark to Sam’s knowing my buggy will weigh what feels like 1,000 pounds to push through the store and will ring up a bill of what feels like $1,000. It is what it is. But one day, I will go to all of their homes and eat all their food. One day. Just not this day.

I meander through the aisles, finding all the things we need. And a few things we don’t need. But those dahlia bulbs are a necessity, right? Maybe I’ll tag that as a grocery expense.

I’m pushing my 1,000-pound buggy out of the store, and I’m stopped by three ladies on the way out who check my receipt to make sure I didn’t steal anything. I didn’t. So why do I get a little nervous every time? I’m a scan-and-go girl, so I truly do get nervous that I forgot to scan something. But if I did go to jail, then food would be free? Hmmm… that’s a joke. But also. Free food?

I’m waiting to have my cart scanned when they start talking amongst themselves. I can’t help but overhear, but the fact that they’re talking about the elderly lady who walked out in front of me makes me curious and I hone in on what they’re saying.

“She comes in here all the time,” says one scanner girl. “She’s so nice, too,” chimes in another.

It’s worth noting that the nice, also frequent Sam’s shopper that they’re speaking of had only two items in her cart as she rolled out. Obviously not a house full of hungry people, possibly just one elderly person on her own.

“She always tells me she’s praying for me,” says the third girl.

That’s when the middle girl pipes in again.

“Sometimes she even slips me a $5 tip.”

They keep making comments about her as I use (all my strength) to push my very heavy buggy through the doors. I see the elderly lady loading up her few items in her car, and I head in the opposite direction, thinking about her. I’ve never seen her before, certainly don’t know her, but the impact she made on me is impossible to deny.

In a world with so much to complain about, this lady (who honestly probably doesn’t really need a Sam’s membership at all based on her small purchases) is a frequent shopper, who takes time to be nice, overly generous (let’s be honest, a $5 tip to people who typically don’t receive tips is over the top – especially when her total bill was probably $20). At her age, loss is inevitable. She’s lost friends, some family, possibly a spouse. But she’s not bitter. She’s out making our world a better place.

She  was  unremarkable  in appearance, and I certainly would scarcely have noticed her if the workers at the door hadn’t started speaking about her after she rolled out. But her impact lasted with me all week, and I’m sure it has lasted with those Sam’s employees even longer.

She’s not a social media influencer, probably has never used the Tik Tok platform or most of the ways we think we have to go about influencing the world. But she’s surely making a difference right where she is, with what she has to offer. She’s one life impacting others for good. May all our stories be written like hers – with love, compassion, and kindness to others.