Yesterday I fought my way to Trader Joe's, in the late afternoon crowds. I wasn't thrilled to be there that close to Christmas, but it wasn't to be avoided.
As I pulled into the parking lot and watched all the people circling like vultures, waiting for that spot to open that would put them 12 feet closer to the door, I watched a lady unload her cart. Then she pushed her cart in the opposite direction of the store, leaving it in an empty parking spot, and walk away.
So that's how this shopping trip was going to be. Sigh.
I worked my way through the store, often parking my cart tight against the end of the aisle and dashing down the aisle for what I needed, rather than try to fit my way through the three-wide carts in the two-cart-wide aisles.
As I waited in line, the checker was happily chatting with the customer ahead of me - I assumed he knew her. Then while he was checking my things, he suddenly waved across the store and motioned for someone to come near him. Moments later, he stopped what he was doing, squeezed out past my cart and gave a hug to a boy of about 12. They exchanged a few words, and he returned to my check out process.
He explained that he had been working at this store for 4+ years, and that the boy and his family had been customers the whole time. When he first met them, the boy had a hand held football video game - the old style ones they don't make anymore. That's all it did, was football. For a while, when the boy would come to the store with his mom, the checker would take his break and teach the boy the tricks of playing the game.
This week, the checker came to work and was told he had a gift waiting. The boy's family had found him a game just like it on eBay, purchased it for him, wrapped it up and brought it to the store.
"It almost made me teary," he told me. As I listened to his animated story, his eyes, in fact, filled with tears.
"That is so sweet," I told him, and I meant it.
"Isn't it?" he asked. And we chatted a little more.
As I was leaving, he stepped over, gave my hand a squeeze, gave me a genuine smile and wished me a Merry Christmas. He then turned his attention to the next customer, giving them the same attention and genuine smile he had given me.
I left with a smile on my face, and went to unload my cart into my car. As I was closing my trunk, a gentleman walked up and asked me if I'd like him to return my cart for me. Do you know how long it's been since someone has done that for me?
I got into my car and took a minute to truly appreciate quality customer service and friendly gestures.
There are some good people in this crazy world!