Maggie-Peyton and I went to Walmart the Monday before Thanksgiving. Three days before Thanksgiving, y’all. I was rolling my eyes and shaking my head the entire walk from the parking lot to the store.
It was complete holiday madness.
I told her as we were walking in that we were going to be in no hurry. We were sticking to the list and if there was anything needed, we’d better get it because we weren’t going back before the big day of turkey.
People were everywhere. Some were rushed and rattled. Others looked like us – just there and making the best of it. And then there were others who just needed to smile. Ya know that kind of people?
We made our way throughout the store and to the check-out lines. It was just as you would have expected – long lines and overflowing baskets.
We were fourth in line on Lane 6.
We were in the midst of a conversation and then realized at the same time that the cashier was nowhere to be found. Maybe she had to go get a check approved? Maybe she had to run and get another item because a tag wouldn’t scan?
We didn’t know. But we did know that we had been standing there for 22 minutes and still no sign of a cashier.
The place was a zoo.
The cashier in Lane 4 was waiting on her last customer in line and I joked about checking out 20 items at a time so we could just ‘scoot over’ –
The next thing we knew that sweet cashier motioned for us to come to an empty lane. She knew how long we had been waiting and hopped to open another register for us (not an express lane).
As we were putting all of our 483 items on the conveyor, the lady behind us, who had also moved with us from Lane 6 commented “I miss those days” –
I just smiled and joked, “Yes, ma’am. The people in my house think we have to eat!”
She referred to a frozen dinner in her basket and said, “It’s now just me and my son. He wanted a pork chop. I’m probably going to have this.”
I smiled, as I was still unloading the basket and made a comment “Sometimes the simplicity is a blessing.”
She then proceeded to tell me that it wasn’t by choice.
She had lost her husband last December.
Last Christmas had been a blur for her son and her and this was the first real holiday season without him. It left a lump in my throat. I wanted to invite her to our Thanksgiving.
Maggie-Peyton then apologized to her for cutting in front of her. (what?!)
Seems the lady had been in front of us in Lane 6 and I didn’t realize it! #fail
The lady got a good laugh and said “It worked out. Your mom and I became friends.”
And we had.
It was a moment I needed. A reminder I needed.
It was a reminder that you never know what that person in line behind you at the grocery or the gas station or the crowd-filled mall may be facing. Whether it’s a holiday or not.
A reminder that everyone’s time is just as important as ours. And the next person’s.
Everyone has a story.