Touched By Kindness at Trader Joe's

Monday, May 10, 2010

I am beyond belief touched, humbled, and amazed.

A few days ago I left the hospital one evening for the first time since we got here.

I felt some anxiety about leaving Cayman's side. I know she's in good hands here. But you see, I lost her only a couple days ago. For a moment in time she was not with us anymore.

My grip on her is very tight right now.

But I desperately needed to go buy some clothes to help me get through our stay here for the upcoming days. When we packed for Ann Arbor we were expecting just the same old usual straight forward shunt revision that had us in and out of the hospital within two days.

Cayman's had five shunt revisions so it's not a new experience for us and we're familiar with how these things usually go. We were not expecting the kind of drama that this shunt failure brought forth.

So on our third day here I was experiencing a clothes shortage. The hospital has laundry available but feeling the most comfortable sometimes means having the assurance of enough necessities without having to tack on more chores like doing laundry.

So on Saturday evening when my mom and sisters came up for a visit, we briefly ventured out to get me some clothes at the nearby Old Navy store (which happens to be my favorite and I must say I am thoroughly enjoying my new yoga pants. Their comfort has tempted me to break out in the downward facing dog pose right next to Cayman's bedside. Ha ha. Just kidding about the dog pose. The comfort part though, I am totally serious about).

While out, I needed to make a stop over at Trader Joe's, a natural health food grocery store. They stock the kind of milk Cayman drinks. We were running low on it too because well like I said, we just weren't planning for this kind of extended stay.

I was feeling anxious to get these two errands done as quickly as possible and return to Cayman's side.

When I entered Trader Joe's it was packed. A many number of cashier lanes were opened with lines extending long.

My heart sunk.

I was tempted to just leave.

I was so anxious to get back to the hospital. Waiting in line was going to feel tortuous. But Cayman needed her milk. She was drinking her bottles well and it was imperative to her strength to keep her on a familiar diet.

So I did something very untypical for my shy and timid personality. I approached the customer service and asked the man behind the counter, "Is it possible for you to ring me up? I have a daughter in the hospital at U of M. I came here to resupply her milk and I'm really anxious to get back to her."

Apologetically he replied, "I'm sorry, I don't have a register over here..."

Cutting him off in mid sentence and feeling already a little sheepish about asking, I replied, "That's ok, I'll just wait in line. I'm not trying to cause trouble." I said to him reassuring my intentions with a smile.

He said to me, "Oh no, don't worry about that. Just go."

I was puzzled.

"Go?" I asked.

"Yeah, go. Put your milk in a bag and just go. You should be with your kid."

Feeling confused and nervous about seeming cantankerous, I turned to follow his directions by grabbing a paper sack off the closest cashier lane just a single step away from me.

With great apprehension I stopped and turned back toward the man first and asked, "Isn't that shop lifting?" I just could not comprehend this unbelievable, unheard of gesture he was instructing me to do.

He waved his hand at me, signaling complete acceptance for me to do this. "The next time you're in, just tell us what you took and we'll take care of business then. You've got more important things going on right now. I know I'll see you again, I'm not worried."

At that time another employee came up from behind me. Taking the basket filled with the cartons out of my hand, he began to bag the milk for me.

I stood there for a small moment, holding my two sacks, one in each hand, feeling the sheer shock over the vast compassion I was being shown.

I must have showered them with a thousands thank you's as I bounded quickly out the door.

I still just sit in awe of that unbelievable trust and kindness that man showed to me - a complete stranger I am to him.

So many places I keep turning and finding pieces of my Lord loving on me in ways that my heart may not be able to comprehend such adoration but it leaves me completely wrapped in a sustaining nurturance.

14 Showin' Comment Love:

Lisa said...

1st (for old times sakes :)

This was such a touching story. If there were a Trader Joes where I live I would be sure to give them my business.

*Monica said...

I just became a Trader Joes fan. Proof that there are still good people out there!!

Thank you for sharing!

So grateful for the Cayman updates too.

dswillis said...

Love abounds. I am grateful you are so eloquent and are able to share your stories from the heart in such a way that we can all feel gratitude and peace.

K said...

Such an awesome story. I am so glad to know that there are still some great people in the world that care about others. Yay for that worker at Trader Joes!

Gabriella said...

Wow. This is a reminder for all of us that sometimes, we can be so self-absorbed, we may miss when a person NEEDS our kindness. This person must have seen the need in your eyes. It wasn't just a regular day at work for him. He was touching a life in a way he may not have anticipated. We need to remember that the next time we become upset with drivers on the road. We never know what someone is going through, and one smile can truly change a life. This guy not only changed yours that day, but I can bet that everyone reading this is thinking twice about how WE can provide acts of kindness throughout our days. Just magical.

Sara said...

How wonderful and sweet of him!

Tiffany said...

Ok, I'm in a puddle over here. That just makes me love Trader Joe's even more!!! The Universe sure is watching over you all. Thank goodness!!

Tyler said...

Unbelievable story. The employee at Trader Joes gets a GOLD star.

Diane, Tyler's mom

Diana Parker said...

I love Trader Joe's. If you have one close to you, you are very fortunate. Not only do they have food you don't get anywhere else, they ooze customer service!

Lindy said...

I'm new here - I clicked over from Elastamom. I was very touched by this post and that man's act of generosity.

Where I live we do not have a Trader Joes but you can be sure the next time I travel and see one, I'll stop.

I am also praying for your family. That you find His arms wrapped around you and that the surgeons hands are guided by His.

sherrilee said...

I'm sitting here crying about almond milk :)
It is truly amazing how He chooses to show love when we need it most. Just makes you realize He really does see every little thing.
Praying that surgery goes well today.

bonnie said...

I love trader joes!!!!! We dont have one in tri cities but when we go outta town we always find one:) That was soooooo nice of that man! I had a lady in portland at build a bear do the same to me!!! Makes you believe there really is angels:)

Sarah M said...

What a wonderful reminder of how much God loves you. He even provided a "small" thing like free milk to save time. Trader Joe's is a great store, but obviously you could tell that it was another way God was taking care of you! I'm so glad to hear about every little miracle you guys are experiencing!!!

Traci Reynolds said...

I have to say I have a similar story as I was in their a few days before mothers day buying a few things and a couple of bouquets of flowers for two of my dear friends one who is going through a difficult time right now and the other who's husband was deployed at the time...the lady who was ringing me up said "beautiful flowers" I told her yes I loved shopping their for them and explained what they were for...she continued to ring up my groceries and flowers and when done paying she asked me to wait over by the door...she then as my daughter and I were leaving handed me and identical bouquet of flowers and she hugged me and said have a blessed mothers day....you have made my day she said...I was so touched...I loved that store before that shopping trip but I have found they have the most sincere full of love employees....they are angels Hugs to you and Cayman may she be healed soon....