Not All Heroes…

5:30am, and I’m lying on my back, unable to sleep. A nice, quiet time to dwell on our current situation. Then, I recalled that we are running low on milk, so I decided that I would be super clever.

I got up, threw on some clothes and headed out to WinCo to grab a gallon or two. When I pulled into the parking lot, it was readily apparent that I was not so clever, or that there were a lot of equally clever people out there. They were standing in a line, about 20 deep at 5:45am. (Okay, maybe NOT so clever.)

It was also readily apparent that WinCo was not on it’s normal 24/7 game, because it was closed.

I sat in my car and read the hype on the news and checked out my social media, until about 5 minutes to the hour. Then sauntered over to the end of the queue. There was a surprising number of elderly people out on a death wish, which made me feel young.

6:00am came and went, and the doors did not open. I paused my headphones (Catfish & the Bottlemen) and asked the man in front of me what time it was supposed to open.

His answer? 7:00am.

Well that stunk. I wasn’t gonna stand in line for an hour for a shot at emerging victorious from the fray with one gallon of milk, so I left.

On my way home, I noticed that another one of our grocery stores was just opening. A line of people with carts was slowly entering the store. I decided to join them.

I grabbed a cart, just in case there was anything that caught my eye, (Sour cream donuts, etc.) and headed into the fray. A clerk at the door was happily wiping down carts with sanitizer and answering questions.

I was glad to find that there were some things there that were getting scarce, milk, assorted fresh meats, (limit 1) and bread, (limit 1). I bought mostly stuff I figured we would use over the next few days, because I detest the selfishness of the hoarding mentality. I also got some produce – let me tell you, nobody seems to be making a run on produce. I guess at times like these, eating healthy is not part of the self-quarantine meal plan, or people don’t care because it’s tough to hoard fresh fruit and veggies.

There was a stocker putting up cases of the cereal I wanted to buy (My son is into Cinnamon Life) so I reached past him and grabbed a couple of boxes. I figured it might be a good time to be nice. I said to the stocker:

“Hey, I just want to thank you for working your butt off while all of this is going on. I know the medical people are rightfully getting tons of praise, but I figure you have a greater impact on a lot of lives right now. Thank you!”

The stocker stood up and said, “Man, thank you so much! I’d give you a hug if I could. We don’t get a lot of compliments – mostly complaints. Like I have anything to do with what is ordered and shipped.”

I said, “You catch a lot of heat for that?”

“Yeah. It is amazing how rude people can be. It’s like they go crazy if you can’t give them what they want, right when they want it. Besides, if people would just shop normally, there wouldn’t even be shortages.”

I thanked him again and went up to the check out, but when I got there, I had an idea and turned back up the aisle. For the next 15 minutes I wandered the store, looking for any employees I could find, stockers, bakery and deli people, produce workers, etc.

All I did was take a minute to thank them for their hard work, and for even showing up to work. And I was sincere: I used to stock groceries when I was a younger man. It is a tough job. Tough on the knees, and tough on the back.

It was remarkable how grateful so many of them were for my simple show of gratitude. There were a couple who were cranky and didn’t seem to care, but, for the most part, they were receptive.

It was no big deal. It took just a few minutes, but I left the store feeling really, really good. Taking those few minutes might have brightened a moment for those workers, but I know that it brightened my mood.

So, if you are heading out, remember to be kind and grateful. It is a reward to both the giver and the receiver.

I can live for two months on a good compliment.” — Mark Twain

Have a great day! New post tomorrow.

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  1. and in telling my story…..I forgot the most important part…..

    everybody that I see stocking shelves in the store, or standing “guard” at the door, I mention that I appreciate their efforts, and hope that they get some rest soon.

  2. My grandson is 3 weeks old (Feb 27, mom was terrified he would be born on Leap Year)
    When spring break started last week and my EMS shift ended, my EC and I drove up to Utah for his planned blessing. The two FOML’s who are the mothers of all of our grand children have been telling us of the “craziness” up there. couple that with the new born’s mom self-quarantining (new verb) they were limited on resources that they don’t normally keep in their storage.

    My EC and I went shopping and brought a car load of baby wipes, alcohol, HO solution, rice, potatoes, and ribs for them.
    Having my EMS badge, I took advantage of Costco’s early option and did some additional shopping when we got there.
    With the first cases of C19 being announced in the SL area, everyone up north canceled their trip south for the blessing. then CA limited travel, canceling others coming north.
    Thank goodness for technology. My grandson was named and blessed with only his father, me and the bishop in the circle, and cell phones transmitting my son-in-law’s voice throughout the universe for others to hear.

    we got home last night, to discover that our community has extended spring break an additional 3 weeks, and all non-essential businesses are closed.

    ran to Safeway to buy some fresh milk since I didn’t buy any before we left since I didn’t want it to go bad.

    neighbors all know that if they get critical, we have food to spare. Their kids won’t go hungry. just might get bored of eating oatmeal and rice with reconstituted veggies/

  3. You rock. Kudos for taking the initiative to scatter some sunshine. I want to be like you when I grow up.

  4. I just got back from buying non-essential but really important items. Bakery items. As a bakery owner, I understand that cookies and doughnuts will do more good than all the kale in the world every produced. I still refuse to believe that kale is an actual plant.

    I also just turned on the TV to see if we still exist. Your blame vs. thank you analogy isn’t limited to grocery stores. I actually heard spinning heads demand war criminal charges be brought against President Trump for his role in our pandemic. I turned off the TV.

    Thank you Brad for making normally invisible people feel appreciated today.

  5. Love, love, love this. I would love to see more of this happening. Thank you for shining a light in this.

  6. My husband delivers bread for a local company. People are funny, most only notice when they reach for something and it’s not there. Don’t shoot the messenger (or delivery person 🙂 It’s not that hard to be nice. I’m sure you made their day,

  7. Love the Twain quote at the end. So often i think we forget that the gospel of Christ is the gospel of noticing and serving “the one,” or the individual. If every person feels loved and seen, then how great of a society can we build and maintain?
    Thanks for reminding us to extend rather than hoard gratitude.

  8. I did that when I was at the store yesterday. Amazing how much better it makes you feel to have a grateful heart.

  9. I love this! Thank you. I’ve been trying to find as many people working as I can can to thank them, they are the unsung hero’s of our time.

Add your 2¢. (Be nice.)

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