Earlier today, as I was getting a few last things squared away for some upcoming adventures, I was begrudgingly assisted by an employee at the store. I spent about 5 minutes with this person as we looked for a specific item. The woman was so abrupt and critical with pretty much every word out of her mouth. As a normal reaction to the situation, I found myself getting all knotted up and becoming short with her in my replies. So, I took a breath. I had to consciously recognize that it wasn’t me she was upset with, nor was it even the situation we were in, which was a simple search for an item I couldn’t find.

If things go wrong, don’t go with them.  ~Roger Babson

I realized that the woman was distinctly unhappy with things or people or circumstances in her life that had nothing to do with me or the current situation. So, I knew that I needed to cool off and, well, show her some kindness.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.  ~Leo Buscaglia

As we walked to another section of the store, I stopped and simply laid my hand on her arm and told her, “Thank you. I know your time is in short supply, yet you’re helping me, and I appreciate it.”

Now, I am sure that this moment did not change a lot for her, but you know what? She took a deep breath, sighed it out, and gave me a small and lovely smile. After that, we found what I was looking for and when I went to the checkout stand, she patted my shoulder, gave me a quick grin, and wished me a nice day. A happy turn-around from the start of the experience.

To the lady at the store; I wish you a nice day, week, and hopefully, holiday season. You were a help to me and I felt better after our interaction than I had all day. I hope you did, too.

Carry on.

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