You Meet Heroes Across a Counter….

As I approached the cash register, the first customer in the grocery store started berating the cashier. Apparently, his $10 coupon wouldn’t scan.

Susan: Sir, I am so sorry!

I won’t repeat his curses, peppered with “you’re incompetent,” “who hired you,” and “I’ll never shop here again.”

I felt the need to take one step toward him. Susan noticed. Meanwhile, someone’s grandpa stepped behind me, and Susan radioed her coworker to come up from the back.

Susan: Caitlyn, can you make this coupon work?

The man kept glaring at Susan, about to say something, when the register blipped.

Susan’s face was awash with relief. “There you go!” she said.

“I worked around a few things,” Caitlyn said, which made me wonder if she just gave the man ten dollars.

Instead of saying thank you, the man fired one more parting shot, and left.

Susan tried to be cheerful and said to me, “How is your day so far?”

“Great. How is yours?” I really looked at her.

That’s when she started shaking. “I tried so hard to be nice to him, to make things work.” She smiled, yet, looked ready to cry.

“It isn’t your fault,” I said. “I’m a teacher. Sometimes, you have 150 students, and one day, 149 of them are happy and the 150th one wakes up and has his underwear on backwards and inside-out.”

Now she laughed, and grandpa said, “You handled him well, miss.”

“Maybe,” Susan said, “but that doesn’t make me feel any better.” She wiped the corner of her eye.

“My Mom always said, ‘Go in the back room and shake it out.’” I added, rolling my shoulders three times.

“Good workers can be rare,” said an elderly lady. “Customers are a dime a dozen.”

“My neighbors always handle conflicts by drinking,” I said, trying to cheer her up, “but that really isn’t working for them.”

As people laughed, she smiled, winked, and said, “You have a good day, hon.”

“You too,” I said.

Be kind. “You meet heroes across a counter, and they’re on both sides of that counter.” — President Reagan, 1981.

Next story on June 29, 2017

Be a cool cucumber. Don’t go bananas.