Wednesday, May 11, 2005

It's all around us, really it is. Look closer.

I stopped at the grocery store on my way home tonight. The lady slicing up my swiss cheese looked sad, and I was about to ask her if she was all right when her boss came up to her and said that someone had called in sick and the slicing-lady would have to work late.

Whereupon the slicing-lady's eyes overflowed with tears. The boss asked her what was wrong, and she replied that she'd "had bad news about Mom" that morning, and though she had come in on time and worked her entire shift, she really needed to leave at her originally scheduled hour.

I stood there and waited for the boss to touch her, or relax her face, or SOMETHING, before she told her to go home, of COURSE, my GOODNESS, take care of your mother, leave this deli, don't worry, I'll take care of things, etc, etc, etc.

What I heard was, "Sorry about that, but you have to stay."

The slicing-lady's eyes widened, and she stared at the boss for a moment in disbelief. The boss turned on her heel and walked away. I received my bags of shaved ham and sliced Swiss cheese almost in shame. One more moment and I'd have jumped over the deli counter, ripped the apron right off the slicing-lady, and told her to go on home and I'd finish the extra shift. I know how. So does Belle. We both worked at a local supermarket deli when she was in college; she because I'm one of those awful mothers who encouraged my kids to have summer jobs, and me because I wanted Belle to live on campus and it couldn't be managed without some extra money.

Yes, I almost leaped over the counter to help this lady but someone beat me to it. A lady who had already worked a shift and a half had also overheard this exchange, and tired as she was, she gently untied the slicing-lady's apron and told her to go on home and take care of her mother. "The boss doesn't care who's working as long as the deli is covered," she said. And they hugged, and the slicing-lady went gratefully home. The tired woman who had been in the store since dawn sighed, shook her head at the boss, and continued wiping down the counters behind the glass deli-front. Her ankles were already swollen over her shoetops.

There are so many lovely people in the world. There are also many who are not.

But if you look, you can always find the good ones.

There's a really good one behind the deli at my supermarket.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:59 PM | |


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