Today I was in King Soopers returning a few items and making small talk with the lady who was working.
Initially it was your typical conversation you might have with any grocery store worker, but it didn’t take long to turn into something that would impact me as I went on with my day.
During the 5 or so minutes we interacted I learned that her grandson had just gotten better from COVID, that she was a banker for 40 years and recently started working in the grocery store. I also learned that in her short time working there she had lost faith in humanity because of the way people treat her. She told me she had been called every bad name in the book, had things thrown at her and constantly had customers yelling and cussing at her. She told me that working there was constantly a reminder to her of just how horrible people can be and that she usually went home completely exhausted.
The thing that stood out to me the most though is when she looked up at me through teary eyes and said , “The real problem is that people forget that we are human. Behind this piece of glass protection and behind our masks are real people with real stories. We go home and we have problems just like you, we go home and we have to deal with situations like when my grandson got COVID. Yet we have to show up at work with a smile on our faces and serve you- so if anything I wish more people would extend grace in remembering we are human.”
The conversation ended shortly after and I was thankful that I had been able to encourage her and turn her day around. Yet truly she impacted me more than I think I did her.
How is it that as a society we have forgotten the importance of extending kindness and love to all that we meet? That for so many of us getting our own way has become an excuse to be rude and unkind to those around us. In all my experiences working retail or customer service it has been heartbreaking how many of those people working alongside me grew bitter towards people because of how they were treated. Sadly my encounter with Jill today isn’t just an ordinary and uncommon one.
Especially during this season and time I have seen so many people that are hurting and in need of all the extra love and kindness they can get. Yet we are stingy with it, as if perhaps it is a well that only has a few drops to spare and so we don’t want to waste it on those around us.
What would it look like if we instead chose to view kindness and love as infinite as the ocean , using it with as much consistency as the waves crashing upon the shore.
It is important to remember that everyone that you encounter is human, that your problems are not always bigger or more important than theirs. We have the power and the opportunity every day to show others that love and kindness exist.
Remember everywhere you go that the people you encounter are human; they are in need of your kindness and your smile. Don’t forget the power of extending love to those around you.
This world needs all the hope and light that it can get and it’s time that we each begin to recognize the role that we play in making this place that we call home a better place.
Kindness and love should never be a scarcity in this world, especially given everything that is going on.
Written by Timia Roehrkasse