by Joe Pendlebury (@theuxchap)

Creating Memories Out of Moments

We live for the moment. But, moments can happen when we least expect it. They can often pass before us, in the blink of an eye.

There’s a great quote by Theodor Seuss Geisel, more-widely recognised as children’s author, Dr. Seuss.

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

Let me share with you a short story, about exactly how that happened to me tonight.

The Publix Bagger Who Left a Lasting Impression

On my way home from work, I paid a visit to my local ASDA supermarket to grab a couple of bits for tea — a pizza and two ready meals for the kids (don’t judge me!).

Ordinarily, with just a couple of items to pay for, I’d go through the self-service checkouts for ease. Not today though. For some reason, I felt compelled to go through a ‘manned’ checkout — one operated by an employee.

Less than a minute later, I was walking off with the shopping back to the car. As I did, I subconsciously reflected back on what just happened, then realising that we didn’t engage in any ‘small talk’, or maintain eye contact.

Immediately after this realisation, out of the blue, I had a flashback of my older brother, Ben, and I, queuing up to pay for some snacks, at a Publix in Clearwater (Florida). We’re going back, some ten to fifteen years ago.

It was the first time I was greeted by a ‘Bagger’. I was amazed, as this was a new concept. Back then, we bagged our own groceries, as for the most part, we still do today, here in the UK.

It was an old gent, whose name, I can’t unfortunately remember. I seem to recall him wearing a large, green badge with it on though.

He said, “Oh, you sound like you’re from England!”, with a beaming smile on his face. “Would you like me to pack your bag, sir?”

Slightly shocked, I looked back at Ben in surprise, then responded, “Erm… yes please.”

He then proceeded to ask where in England we were from, to which I replied. “Derby. It’s located pretty much, smack bang in the centre of England.”

He replied, “Near Notting-haaam?” to which I laughed and said, “Yes, about 15 miles away”.

He then very kindly offered to carry our bag to the car. It was only one bag, and there were two of us, so it’s not like we had a load to haul back with us. Even so, he seemed keen to carry on the conversation, so we politely took him up on the generous offer.

During that short walk back to the car, we learnt about how he served in the US Army for several years, his love of British sitcoms (Fawlty Towers, I seem to recall, was one of his favourites) and how he had two Grandchildren that he thought the world of.

But, most importantly, he told us about how much he loved his job. Not so much the bag packing, but the enjoyment of engaging in conversation, with his customers. What I haven’t yet mentioned is that this employee was in his ‘70s.

Conversation > Technology

Tonight’s events, and the resulting recollection, really got me thinking about how good old-fashioned, face-to-face communication, is hard to come by these days. We’re all so wrapped up in new technology that we sometimes forget the importance of engagement and interaction with one another — with other humans. We’re engrossed in our smartphones, tablets and laptops.

So, the next time you go to the supermarket, ditch the self-service checkout, join the queue, and strike up a conversation with the till operator. You might just make their day. Likewise, they may leave a lasting impression on you too.

Live for the Moment

Continue to strive for those everyday moments and be happy in the moment that is the present. For one day, those moments may well become fond memories that you’ll want to share with the world.

One Last Thing…

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