We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.
~ Ronald Reagan
Yesterday our local grocery store was jam-packed with shoppers. I guess because it is Monday and because it’s summer, (but it wasn’t a beach day) that there were more than the normal amount of shoppers busy filling their carts and trying to get through the aisles. I don’t usually shop on a Monday for just that reason, but yesterday I need a few things and thought I’d just stop in.
Pressure was mounting believe it or not as busy people continued to try to get through the aisles and get their shopping done efficiently ~ you know the get in, get out type of shoppers? Well, I had decided to just peruse every aisle, getting a little cool exercise in on a hot muggy day. As I rounded the 4th or 5th aisle, I saw it was looking like an obstacle course, but because I needed an item, I decided to just go on through slowly. It took some time as I smiled and even excused myself as I passed a few of the shoppers. One woman in particular thanked me for excusing myself as I walked in front of her. She commented how everyone seemed to be in such a hurry and were rude. We just smiled with understanding and wished each other a good day.
There was a man up ahead, about 55 years old, standing in the middle of the aisle. The 20-something aged lady in front of me was growing impatient. I heard her loudly say, “excuse me” two times and then proceeded to try to pass him and his cart. It was a tight squeeze and as she went past him, she clipped him on the heel. He started, having been intent on searching for an item on the shelves and moved to let her by. His face contorted in pain as she sailed by, knowing that she had hit him, but oblivious in her hurry. She bustled past throwing over her shoulder, “I said excuse me twice and you didn’t move.”
I was behind them, having seen the whole event. I walked over to him and simply asked if he was ok. He turned to me and replied, “I’m sorry. I had chemo this morning. I guess I just didn’t hear her.” Turning back towards the shelves he mumbled, “I can’t seem to find my favorite chili mix.”
Well, you know me…I had chemo, I love to help and he just had my heart immediately. So I pushed my own cart off to the side behind his so that we were out of the way of other shoppers and I came up along side of him.
“Tell me what you’re looking for and let’s find it together,” I suggested as I walked next to him.
“I’m having 150 people to my home this weekend for my son’s graduation. I’m a chef, well I used to be before chemo and I only like X chili mix and I can’t find it. I know it’s here.”
“Well then we’ll find it,” I reassured him as my eyes scanned the shelves. “I had chemo too so I know how hard it is to deal with and I’m impressed that you are here at the store already. I hope you are taking good care of yourself.”
“You had chemo this morning too?”
“No, I had it 13 years ago, but I’m still here. Hey, here’s the section for chili, but I don’t see the brand you want.”
He reached up and plucked a package from the shelves, “No, it’s not here, but this is my 2nd favorite brand. I’ll use this. Do you know that I weighed 400 pounds when I started chemo and now look at me.” He must have weighed 200 pounds now. “I lost so much weight during chemo, that’s the only part that’s been good.”
“I know, you men always lose weight and we women gain it during chemo. I used to be a stick!” I replied giggling as he laughed with me. “You know you should never eat your favorite meal the night before chemo because it won’t ever be your favorite again if you get sick the next day.”
“I never met a meal that wasn’t my favorite.” We laughed as he rubbed his belly. “And they’ve given me medical marijuana to help with the nausea. Now I’m always hungry, but I am not gaining weight.”
“Well, whatever works! Congratulations to your son and my best wishes to you for continued good health.”
“Thanks for being an angel to me. God bless you,” he held out his hand to me. “Thank you for helping me.”
“God bless you sir and take good care of yourself, ” I replied squeezing his hand and reaching out my other hand to his arm and patting it.
We took a moment to smile at one another and then he turned away to his cart and I moved to mine.
I walked away smiling, feeling blessed, knowing that we connected and sparkled for a moment in eachother’s lives. I can’t help the world, but I can help someone. Every single day.