Two Strangers

I was waiting in line at a store today when I heard a lady behind me talk loudly to the gentleman she was with. She smiled at a child who walked by with a giant painted decorative Easter egg and exclaimed, “That’s a big egg!”

She caused a few stares. And her clothes made one wonder if she lived on the street. The gentleman she was with answered her questions calmly as she looked in awe at the candy selection near checkout. Her face looked like a face of a forty-year old but her behavior was like that of a ten-year old.

“Oh! Can we go to Best Buy after this?” she asked the person she was with.

He looked into their cart and said maybe they should’t today with all this already. He said they wouldn’t have much room. She agreed and moved on to checking out the chewing gum.

“Your purse is open.”

I turned and realized she was talking to me.

“Oh, thank you! I didn’t realize,” I replied, zipping up my purse pocket.

“You know, you’ve got to be careful. People can get near you and take something and you don’t even know it!” she said, warning me.

“Yes, you’re right. Thanks again. I appreciate it,” I said, smiling at both her and the man she was with. He just stared at me before she continued.

“The other day, someone had some money on a table and another person tried to take it. I saw it and I told him not to do it.”

“Really?” I asked, as the line moved up.

“Oh yeah. He tried to grab it when she wasn’t looking. And you know what?”

“What?” I said, getting into her story.

“He called me stupid.”

“What? Why on Earth…”

“I know. He said I was stupid for stopping him.”

I looked straight into her dark black eyes and said, “You know what? You are not stupid for stopping someone from stealing. In fact, you are very smart. What you did was great. He’s the one who is stupid.”

She looked at me and gave me the biggest smile, feeling very proud.

“Yeah. He’s stupid. Not me.”

My husband, who was shopping in a store next door, came in and asked for the credit card because he forgot his wallet. I quickly handed it to him so he could get back to the register.

When he left, my new friend asked me, “Is that your brother?”

I laughed. “No. That was my husband.”

She looked at me in awe and exclaimed, “No way, you’re too young to be married.”

I’m not going to lie. As I near forty, comments like this one put a smile on my face.

It was my turn for the next register. As I left the line, I told my new friend to have a great day.

“You too!” she said.

Just two strangers, making each other feel good.


Countdown till Christmas – 2 days to go!

As I was about to walk into a grocery store, I saw an elderly lady, late 70s/early 80s, dressed warmly, sitting on chair and ringing a bell to collect money for the Salvation Army. She said “Merry Christmas” or “Hello” to various people as they came and went but many walked right past her, without even an acknowledgement. It’s one thing to choose not to donate, but it’s another to be downright rude.

So I walked right past her and gave her a big smile, saying “Hello.” She responded with, “Hello” and a tiny smile back.

As I grabbed a basket in the insanely packed grocery store (I’m not kidding, full shelves were empty,) I decided I was going to do this my entire trip. I was going to go out of my way to be nice to people.

I allowed people to plow ahead of me as they seemed in a rush. I smiled when a woman bumped into me. When someone apologized for walking right in front of me and making me nearly fall, I simply said, “No worries.”

And you know what? It felt good. Really good.

No matter what kind of day one has had, is it too much for a little common courtesy?

I think the universe rewarded me for my efforts also. I kid you not, twice I reached a shelf looking for something I wanted only to find it empty – slices of sharp cheddar and arugula lettuce. But then, when I glanced in the back or nearby, I found what I was needed. And there was only one of each, as though they were there just for me.

Positivity begets positivity. Try it. Let it swirl all around you this holiday season (and then maybe it will be commonplace for the whole year! that’s my goal…)

Oh, and when I excited, the sweet old lady was being ignored by yet another busy shopper. So I walked right by her, looked her in the eye and said, “Merry Christmas.” I must have surprised her because she said, “Oh! Merry Christmas to you” and then a big smile spread across her cold, chapped lips.

I smiled right back.