Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wouldn’t it be Nice

This morning, as I was reading through the updates of my face book friends, I was proud to see that one of them posted about standing up for a store clerk who was being verbally abused by a rude customer.  When my friend was told by the rude customer that it was none of his business, he replied that she’d made it his business when she started her verbal assault in front of him and everyone else waiting in line.
Once upon a time, I was a store clerk  in a small fabric store.  While the majority of customers I waited on were polite and courteous, sadly, the ones I remember were the rude ones.  Like the customer who got tired of waiting in line and threw their money on the counter and left with their “purchases”  or the one who got angry when I said I couldn't  make change for a hundred dollar bill on the purchase of a spool of thread.
Years ago, I was at a second hand store waiting to buy a vintage sewing box.  The line was long, but the clerk could not help but greet each customer warmly and chat during the check out process.  Tired of the delay that the clerk’s small talk created,  people got mad.  Some complained loudly and expressed that the clerk should “speed things up” and others left before it was their turn to pay.  I continued to wait patiently, and when it was my turn to be helped, I was nice.  I chatted with the clerk, and told him I thought he was doing a wonderful job in spite of the insults hurled at him.   He thanked me in return and said he just didn’t understand why some people were so impatient and got so angry.
A week or so later, the store burned to the ground and the clerk, who I  learned later was also the owner, died in the fire.  I was heartbroken.  I could still picture his face.   But I was also so very thankful for the way I had treated him.
The world would be such a wonderful place if we could all just be kind to one another.  I know.   It’s  probably an oversimplification.
But my vintage sewing box says otherwise.


  1. Valerie, your stories have such depth and wit, and subtle twists, that I have begun to look forward to the time of day when I can turn on the computer with a cup of tea in hand and enjoy. I love this one.

  2. I couldn't agree more. Be kind to one another.

  3. Dawn, thank you so much. I can't tell you how much a comment like yours means to me! When I saw my friend's Facebook story I was inspired to write this post-I wrote it so fast I probably should have done a bit of editing first:) And for the record, I've come to look forward to reading your posts too:)

    Tina-it's so, so true!! :)

  4. Oh gosh, Valerie. What a good anecdote, though it is so sad that he passed away from the fire. Still, I bet he remembered you well for treating him so kindly. Good for you!

    Sometimes I have to remind myself when I'm in a hurry that I need to be patient when I'm at the store. I wish, though, that the clerks would be friendlier. Some of them are really nice - others look at you like they wonder what in the heck you're doing alive. LOL

  5. Melissa-Unfortunately ,I've seen the flip side too-when sometimes the clerks are less than kind. There was an elderly woman in the grocery store once and no one would help her. I offered but she said she didn't want to trouble me. I still see her standing with a cart full of stuff, and it still makes me teary eyed. We do what we can, though. I know for a fact you are a sweet heart:)

  6. Wow, Valerie, what a story! I prefer patience too, or if I am bothered, I typically keep my mouth shut (I recently wrote a post about this, but I haven't published it yet - I'm a little behind!)

  7. Thank you, Valerie, for expanding upon my experience. You have a very nice blog going here. Very inspiring and up-beat. Glad I followed your tip to check it out.

  8. Thank you both! I really and truly appreciate your comments-and Lisa, I'm looking forward to reading that post soon!

  9. A perfect story to remind us that each act of kindness is so very important.

    Like your story, you never know if your words might be the last ones a person hears or if the person you're talking to might need a boost of kindness.

    One thing I know is I feel so much better when I'm kind than when I'm not. Kindness is catchy like a laugh or a smile -- it brings goodness into the soul.

    Thanks for sharing this story!

  10. The checkout line is one of those deceptively humdrum places that shows you who people really are in a heartbeat. Your account describes that so beautifully, reminding us of the importance of even the simplest act of kindness. I was chilled to find that the sweet-tempered clerk/owner died in a fire at the end! I just loved the last line, "But my vintage sewing box says otherwise." Very fitting.

  11. Sara-I feel better when I am kind too-I like how you said it brings goodness to the soul. So true:)

    Tracy-That is so true about checkout lines-I've seen before where it brings out the best, or worst in people. That poor clerk seemed so shocked at the way he was treated, and to this day I try to remember him and what happened when I feel like I'm getting impatient. I'm so glad you read this and left your wonderful comment:)

  12. I for one, agree with your sewing box. And you.

    We can't possibly control how others will act, but we never have to allow this to mandate how we react to them. Thank you for sharing these beautiful thoughts with me.