Monday, January 11, 2010

The Lady At Walmart

A week or so ago I was in Walmart.  I usually avoid Walmart unless I need something specific because it is one of those stores that suck you into buying things you don't need.  You go in for something specific and you come out with that ...PLUS some extra towels, 4 tubes of Crest that were on sale, an extra bag of dogfood, Christmas decorations that were 75% off, and new pillows.  So if your motive for shopping at Walmart is to save money, forget it.  If you really need all that loot, well, good for you.  Me?  I'd rather just stay away.

On this particular day I was there to buy a humidifier.  As I walked throught the pharmacy area I heard children screaming, screaming, screaming.  I looked, like everyone does, and kept walking, deciding to wait and check out the humidifiers later when things had calmed down on the pharmacy aisle.  When I came back, though, the children were still screaming.  Oh my goodness, now what?

A young mother with three children was trying to get prescriptions filled.  She had one in the buggy, one in her arms, and one was on the floor near her feet, on a leash.  Two of them were screaming to the top of their lungs.  Onlookers were doing just that, looking on.  Well, WWJD, I thought to myself?  So I walked over to the mother and asked if I could help.  Now, mind you, she is on her cell phone telling someone quite loudly that she is "completely overwhelmed", her insurance has been denied, and the children are still screaming.  "Can I help you?", I ask.  Suddenly her angst was covered with a big smile, "No", she says, "I'm fine".  She's faking, of course.

She's not fine.  I understand her hesitation to accept help from a stranger but how bad could I be with ten onlookers gawking at us?  I just stay there beside her and start talking to the children to distract them.  The screaming stops pretty quickly.  She doesn't tell me to go away so I stay put.  I ended up staying with the mom and her children for 30 minutes while all the insurance issues got worked out.  The pharmacy was in error.  There was no problem with her insurance.  She was scared and embarrassed for nothing.

Victoria was three, Kaitlyn was two, and Jordan was 18 months.  Daddy gave the girls their nicknames: Tori, KatieBug, and Jordy.  I was so glad to learn there was a daddy.  As I spent time with these kids I learned a lot about myself.  I quickly constructed an entire story about them. I decided all of them were sick (and I hoped I didn't catch it) since mom was getting three Rx antibiotics, although they didn't seem sick. I decided they probably lived in a trailer without enough money to make ends meet. I decided mom would probably just keep having kids.  I decided their mother might not know she could put their dirty jackets in the washing machine.  I decided they probably didn't know how to budget their money as mom was using an expensive Blackberry....and I was using a $29.95 phone.  I reasoned she should have a phone like mine and save that money she didn't have.  Part of me wanted to go home with them and teach mom all the things I decided she didn't know.  I realized how very judgmental I was being.

We all became friends over that 3o minutes.  Mom, Brittany, thanked me sincerely.  When I asked her if they were going to "try for a boy", she told me she had her tubes tied and wouldn't be having more children even though they loved these three profusely.  She talked about having 3 teenagers at once, 3 proms, then 3 weddings.  All the kids wanted me to hold them and I did.  They wanted me to go home with them. They wanted to play with my phone. They were smart.  They knew all about texting (at 3) and apps!  Once they were distracted  their tears turned to smiles and giggles and mom could get her business done. I loved every minute of it and I grew to love them in that short amount of time.

I realized that if I ever become a grandmother I will enjoy it immensely and I will make sure I don't tell their mother when their jackets need washing.  Oh how quickly you forget!

27 comments:

  1. WWJD? Probably something really obvious but I'm at a loss. Help. What a good person you are to offer help like that.

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  2. Thanks Petty. It was a little scary approaching someone I didn't know. Didn't know if I should or not. WWJD is "What would Jesus do?" Good role model I figure!

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  3. I'm sure that mom walked away from the pharmacy completely astounded that an angel had visited her at Walmart that day! Such a wonderful random act of kindness!

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  4. that was a wonderful story and you will make a wonderful grandma!

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  5. I think you have added a few jewels in your crown. What a sweet and kind thing to do.

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  6. I loved this post. It actually gave me goosebumps. One of my first posts was about a "Lady at the Bus Stop" I pass on my way to work everyday. Please stop by and give it a read.

    http://wwwhiwit.blogspot.com/2009/10/lady-at-bus-stop.html

    You have given me inspiration to follow through on something I have been putting off way too long.

    Blessings.

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  7. Thanks everyone. You would have probably done the same thing. I mean the screaming was that intense!

    Respectfully Yours, Thanks for sending me to read "Lady At The Bus Stop". It literally gave me goosebumps! Nice we did it for each other. Reaching out is scary. It's not always the right thing to do. What I did was short term, in the moment, done. Not too risky. Your heart is in the right place. Your guidance will lead you but it may not lead you to stop. I certainly don't know. There is a gift of fear as well.

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  8. your niceness made me ashamed of myself, as i would probably walk pass the mess real quick! you're ready to be a great and fun grandma.

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  9. Sandra ~ I am so proud of you!! You are going to make a wonderful grandma someday. This is the kind of thing that people notice and think about long after it's over. I am sure you impacted more people than you could ever realize that day. Good job!!

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  10. This is NOT bragging--just to tell you, I Do That ALSO! Walk right up to strangers, and make fast friends--usually never see again, but the vibes are always there when that happens, and I LOVE those moments.

    SEE? When I say I love everyone? So do YOU!!! And it CAN be. And it IS true!

    Blessings, and thank you for letting me share this here, little embarrassing maybe.

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  11. You are so awesome and sometimes it's so hard to turn off the "stories" in our heads that keep us from getting closer to people. Hooray for you for standing up to help! :)

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  12. Thanks for all the sweet comments. Nice that you all focused on the 'helpfulness' part of the story...and not on how judgmental I was! That's the other side of the story. Steve, you are NOT bragging. You are living your faith and leading by example! Thank you.

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  13. You know what they say about angels coming in different forms...you were her angel!!

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  14. Nice writing! Reading this has enticed me to take a closer look at myself and the way I react in certain situations when under stress. That was an angelic act on your part...they do say angels walk among us :) Please continue to write, share your lessons...

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  15. Sandra, you did exactly what Jesus would do! Not many of us out there like that to step out of our comfort zone! Thank you for representing Him. Blessings.

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  16. You never know what a small gesture can do to help get someone through a rough day. I can relate to that overwhelmed feeling. I remember once in church when my son, who had just been diagnosed with ADHD, was really challenging my patience. A man came over to me after the service and put his hand on my arm and promised me that it would get easier. I never forgot that small gesture from a stranger who sensed that I needed a kind word. I have a feeling that someday that the mom you helped will do the same thing for someone she sees in need.

    I'm so glad that I read your post today. It really brightened my morning.

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  17. I usually make up stories in my head as I'm in a situation, too :) That was a wonderful thing you did, I would have loved your help when my kids were small.

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  18. Another thing about this story is timing. When I was working and always busy I wouldn't have stopped, just rolled my eyes and kept going. But I am retired now and I have time...makes all the diff in the world. I can still make a lot of excuses but not having time is not one of them!

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  19. I love this story! Sometimes we all just need a little smile from a stranger! What a wonderful experience that was for all of you!

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  20. What a sweet person you are Sandra!
    You're going to make an amazing grandma! Loved your story!
    hugs hugs

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  21. Well good on you. I'm proud of you. I expect ole' J is too.

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  22. That was a great story! You are a great person!

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  23. Thanks Everyone, Hope that story didn't sound seem self serving. I guess I wrote about it because it was very out of the ordinary for me to do and I liked the way it turned out! And the judgmental thing was pretty powerful and a lesson for me. I appreciate the kudoz and maybe I'll do more of that kind of thing.

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  24. You did such an awesome thing. That lady will remember this for a long time.

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  25. Joy, thank you. My neighbor is Joy too. I spent the day with her and when I saw the name I expected her. What a nice surprise to find it was you!

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  26. Where were you all those times my kids were terrorizing innocent bystanders in Wal Mart?

    You're a good egg, my friend.

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  27. Wonderful story! I love reading and writing little snippets of life; we learn so much about ourselves, and others, from just such moments.

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