Last evening I decided to brave the holiday crowds and headed out to do some shopping on the last Friday before Christmas. So with my holiday cheer and as much patience as I could muster firmly in place, I arrived over at the Bed, Bath and Beyond to make my final purchase of the season. As I wandered through the store I eventually saw the item I think I want to purchase: 12 feet over my head and decidedly out of my reach. So off I went to the front counter where-in a lady informs me she shall send someone directly. After several minutes I noticed a young man scampering towards me, kicking something down the aisle, in bending to pick it up, he knocked something else off a shelf and in doing so his radio falls off his hip and goes skittering across the floor. With an exasperated look at me and a wave of his hand at it, he leaves it lying on the white tile floor in lieu of helping me as quickly as possible. I gave the young man a wave and a smile and motioned for him to take his time, and retrieve his radio, which he did. Smiling hello as he approached the final few feet, I smiled back and turned and pointed towards the ceiling. We casually had some discussion about the item that was not just out of my reach, but out of his as well, so he quickly departed to retrieve a ladder from across the aisle. As he was trying to make it back across said aisle to me, his sojourn was interrupted by yet another, obviously more impatient, customer. He helplessly began to listen to the man’s request, shrugging his shoulders and throwing me a glance of sincere apology. Once again I wave at him as if to say, no worries bro. You could see the visible sigh of relief in his posture and after a few minutes he returned to me, ladder in tow. As we start to chat about my pending purchase, about his many encounters with unruly customers this holiday season, and about the weather, he climbs the ladder and I begin to toss instructions at him, “no that one. Yes. The one to the right. Damn. that’s not the one either. I want the one that looks like the one here.” He finally finds, in the far back right of the top shelf, exactly what I was looking for and makes his way triumphantly down to earth grinning all the way. I was like, “dude you just made my Christmas!! Thank you so much for all your help.” “Hey no problem” he responds, “I wish all our customers were as warm and friendly as you.” I smiled and shrugged at him and as I could not read his name tag I asked him his name. “Colton” he said. I reached out my hand to shake his “Kristine” I replied. We cheerfully exchanged “Merry Christmases” and off I went to pay for my present.
So about a minute later, as I am standing at the back of the line, here comes ole Colton around the corner. He sees me in line and says, “hey Kristine! I’ll take you over here.” and motions for me to come down to his register, which I gladly did. As Colton began to ring me up I retrieved my wallet and started counting my money to see if I had enough cash to make my purchase or if I needed to put it on my credit card and he says “here let me help you out” and promptly gives me a ten percent discount on my 100 dollar purchase. I was like “awwwww…dude, you did not have to do that but that’s cool thanks so much.” Now as I am about to walk away sending another “Merry Christmas” Colton’s way, he says to me, “hey Kristine you know what you said to me back there, about making your Christmas? Well I just want to say, you made mine too.” I hesitated and looked back at him and smiled and said “hey dude no worries…might just as well be the reason someone smiles today, eh?” As the realization of my remark came to him he smiled a smile as big as Texas and nodded his head in agreement and as I finally departed I realized in that brief encounter Colton and I left each other better off than we when we found each other.
Kumbaya my friends, kumbaya. Oh…and Merry Christmas.
The moral of the story: be kind, be friendly, be patient. And regardless of whether you have known someone for years or just a few minutes leave them better off than when you found them.