On January 7th my post Gratitude included being thankful for the clerk in Shoppers asking me ‘whatcha up to today’. The first time I met her was the week we had just arrived in Parksville and were living in a rented condo until the possession date of our house. I was feeling a little out of sorts and certainly stressed. Lots of life changes in that week. Although I think Calgary is one of the friendliest big cities there is, I was yet to ever hear the same type of remark from a clerk I didn’t know. I remember thinking in Oct. that it was so refreshing to have been greeted with what I assimilated a small town genuine gesture.
I told the clerk that we had just moved here so we had lots on the go. She asked me where I was from and when I told her Calgary, she almost screamed ‘I used to live there and my ex mother-in-law still does’. She went on for quite awhile about the different places she had lived and then, as she handed me my receipt, she said, meeting my eyes and with a big big smile ‘Welcome – I know you’ll love it here’.
I walked away smiling too and thinking how refreshing. Although I did catch a glimpse of the kind of annoyed faces of the people behind me in line. Perhaps she’d spent a little too much time chatting!
I mentioned the experience to my hair stylist. She knew exactly who the clerk was and had a similar interaction with her.
I had the pleasure of having her ring up my stuff a few times in the past 7 months since we’ve been here. Her attitude has always been the same and her smile was always there, with everyone. The last time I saw her at Shoppers she had dyed her hair shades of pink and purple.
Yesterday I was in one of the local liquor stores. There were 2 cashiers on duty. I noticed right away that the cashier with her back towards me had a completely shaved head. As I was sliding my wine to the cashier in my line, the other cashier said to the lady behind me ‘I can help you over here’. The lady said to her ‘didn’t you work at Shoppers?’. I said ‘yes, I was thinking the same thing’. The cashier looked at us, smiled and nodded. I overheard the lady behind me say to the cashier ‘do you like your new hairdo?’. The cashier said she didn’t know but that she would be having treatment so she thought she would get a head start on things, or something to that effect.
I watched her demeanour and it was calmer, quieter – I don’t think I was imagining that. I felt so sad driving home. I hope that she will be okay and that she has a good support system and that she knows how her lovely attitude in retail has, I’m sure, positively affected many of her customers. It did me.
I have many memories of my Dad’s fondness of birds. As mentioned in the Eulogy I wrote for his service, my dearest memory is of him cutting up worms on Mom’s breadboard for the baby robins in the nest on their veranda. Needless to say, Mom was not impressed!
I remember him being so sad when he realized that a momma robin had abandoned one of her babies in the nest. It didn’t know how to fly yet. Dad fed him for a few days and then he felt it best to let nature take it’s course. He gently lifted it out of the nest and put in in his garden. He never saw it again.
When we were driving back to Calgary after his funeral we noticed a crow seemingly to be leading us on. We had to go very slow as the roads were treacherous. The crow would fly a few hundred feet, seem to wait for us to catch up on the side of the road, then fly ahead again. Eventually, he just flew off. In my grief, I thought perhaps maybe that crow represented Dad, letting us know he was still with us. It brought me comfort.
Since retiring and moving to Parksville, my love for birds has increased. I am constantly on the look-out for them and am amazed at the varieties we have here. My brother has been equally taken with them for years. When he worked he would tell me stories of all the different kinds he’d seen and fed in the fields. He told me of a time when he saw a lone duck who looked exhausted, walking the prairie field. There wasn’t any water anywhere so he managed to box him up and take him to the nearest pond. The duck swam away happily. Jim and I have great conversations about birds now and I’ve learned a lot about them from him. We will always have that bond – no matter how long our time together on this earth is.
Today I was walking in the toy section of Fields looking for my next jigsaw puzzle (that could be another post!). I overheard a mom guiding her little daughter through the aisle, pointing out some toys she may be interested in with the money she got from Grandma for her Birthday. The mom even mentioned that it would be ok to get a toy that boys like, if she wanted. The little girl was so sweet. She was about 3 – little white dress on, bright pink runners and pink streaks in her hair as well. Obviously the mom was a loving mom, explaining all the different toys and what she might like about each one.
I picked out my puzzle, did a bit more browsing around the store and then got in the line behind the mom and little girl. While they were waiting for the people ahead of them to finish up, the mom explained to her daughter that they may not be able to afford the tea set chosen but she would see what the price was. The cashier asked the mom if she just wanted to see how much the set was. The mom nodded. ‘$15.98’ the cashier announced. The mom shook her head and said ok thanks, reaching for the set to put it back on the shelf.
I said ‘I’ve got it’. The mom’s face went red and said no, it’s ok. I said ‘ it was her Birthday, right? I’m happy to get it’. The mom said over and over ‘are you sure?’. I said yes. She reached in her pocket and tried to give me a $5.00 bill (or maybe there were two fives). I said no, it’s ok. The mom kept repeating that she couldn’t believe it, tears running down her face. I asked the little girl her name (couldn’t quite make it out). Mom told her to say thank you and she did.
The cashier said ‘that was very nice of you but you’d be surprised how many times I’ve seen this happen in this wonderful community’.
We walked out of the store together. She asked me my name and I asked her hers. She said her daughter’s birthday was actually on Mother’s Day and that ‘you don’t know what this means to me, I’m going to pay it forward’. We wished each other a good day and I walked back to my car.
This post isn’t intended to sound like I’m this wonderful person by buying a little girl a toy. It’s meant to be about how good it feels to do it – I almost feel selfish about it. While I know I made the mom and little girl happy, it did more than that for me.