One good thing that has come out of my fledgling blogging activity is that I've managed to hook up with some old friends. It’s refreshing to be able to go down the memory lane, reminiscing about incidents that only bring forth a chuckle or two on reflection. We remind each other of the teachers that have left impressions on our then young lives. We “talk” about circumstances that led to us coming out of retirement. We share tips on staying sharp. So there goes the very first of this installment of pleasant surprises.
We usually do our grocery shopping at a nearby supermarket, this one being Kash n’ Karry. Through the years we have come into regular contact with some of the store employees: cashiers, packers, and general assistants. Some of these casual encounters have blossomed into something beyond exchanging pleasantries. Hugs become natural. Of course the turnover of the store can be high, and coupled with work shifts, we will always see some new faces on our weekly visits.
This store has recently started undergoing a retrofitting concomitant with an image uplift, i.e., to be renamed SweetBay. You know, one reason why most grocers stay faithful to a particular store is because they have the store layout etched in their minds: isle 1 is cold storage, isle 7 is where coffee creamers are at; and wheatgerm is at isle 11. Everything is where it should be, no hassle, no wasting time hunting down a particular food item.
In the process of restoration, the food items have been rearranged, and our learning restarted. This morning we could not find wheatgerm and sought the help of the first store assistant we bumped into. Apparently, the changes have impacted her as well or wheatgerm must be one of the least sought after items, for she led us through many isles, determined to locate the item for us. Then she asked us where we would be and double backed on the same trail, seemingly vowing to leave no stones, or rather food cans/jars, unturned.
While we were at our last usual stop at the Fruit/Vege sections, she reemerged, waving a glass jar in her hand high in the air and gesticulating excitedly to us. We found our wheatgerm, thanks to the persistence of the lady assistant. This must be going beyond the usual call of customer service. We both walked away, satisfied. What a win-win situation!
Then at that precise moment, a certain TV commercial sprang to mind. The starting scene depicts a guy picking up a toy on the pavement and handing it over to a lady busy attending to her baby in a pram. This is witnessed by a man standing nearby. The next scene has this man helping to upright a reclining chair on which sits a man engaged in a telephone conversation, oblivious to his precarious position. Again, a lady clerk who is behind sees the display of kindness. In the following scene, the lady clerk is seen pushing a man out of the way of a pile of falling wooden crates. And the scenes of kind gestures repeat in sequence until the last scene showing the very first man being helped. I guess the moral of the story is that good deeds beget good deeds and kindness grows in an endless chain, gradually and surely touching and enveloping individuals, groups, crowd, masses, and humanity.
But that’s not the end of the string of pleasant surprises. My wife always buys a bouquet of flowers to help brighten our home. As usual, she picked up a bouquet of pink flowers, and the attending cashier was commenting what a beautiful choice I’ve made without realizing that my flower sense is as good as my wine sense (I don’t drink liquor). Just when she was about to ring the total amount for our purchase of the day, my wife appeared with another bouquet in her hand. I could almost sense the admiration in the cashier’s face, thinking that ours must be the best decorated home. Then when the bill was paid, my wife handed the bouquet to her, saying, “it’s for you.”
She was startled, then overjoyed. My wife has just touched a heart. I’m not sure whose heart she will touch next, but she will surely touch one that I’m sure.