This afternoon after walking a few miles in the park (training for Pike’s Peak) I stopped at our local grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner. After loading my cart (which included several frozen items) I proceeded to the checkout and realized that I had left my wallet at home . . . After returning the frozen items (ice cream drumsticks and blueberry popsicles) to the freezer I rushed home to retrieve some cash.
Upon my return to the grocery store I once again retrieved my essential frozen food items and made my way to the checkout line. I observantly sized up the lines–only one lady in front of me if I choose this one–excellent. I unloaded my groceries at my chosen checkout. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed the cashier having trouble with two coupons from the lady in front of me. Serious trouble. The lady had purchased the wrong size products with the coupons. Sooo, the products were removed from the waiting bags to sort things out.
Feminine hygiene products they were.
The checkout girl explained the problem to the now miffed customer. The miffed customer turned to me and said, “They would have to be pads and tampons.” “Ugh, yeah,” I awkwardly responded.
5 minutes later it was decided that another store employee would go find the correct products. An apology was made to me. (By the way, this weekend I’m teaching from Matthew 5:38-42 about turning the other cheek, going the extra mile, etc.). “No problem, I’m not in a hurry.”
The new boxes of feminine hygiene products finally arrived only to find out that the coupon specified that you had to purchase one larger size to get the smaller size free. Sooo, back goes the store employee on another round of tampon/pad search and find. And now we have eight boxes of feminine hygiene products laying in front of us. I’m not a prude . . . but the lady buying the groceries kept trying to engage me in conversation about how awkward this would be if her daughter were the one this was happening too. Ummm.
Graciously, another cashier who recognized me from church came over to talk to me. I explained that I had just walked in the park and was doing my best to get in some semblance of shape. She explained that she’d been exercising as well. I said, “I thought you had lost weight. You look great!” “Nearly 50 pounds!” she proudly replied. She then went on to tell me about her upcoming cruise she’s booked to enjoy. We had a delightful conversation.
Eventually, the correct products were placed in the woman’s bags and she went away having saved several dollars. As I was leaving the store, the weight-loss girl from church said to me, “Thanks for noticing Pastor Greg!” Her face was beaming.
Divine appointments. How will we respond in situations that are challenging? I had the opportunity to be an absolute jerk (and I’m sure I have done so in the past) or to engage and encourage someone in a loving way. I know one thing for sure, because of the choice I made I felt a whole lot better as I drove home.