Champion of Kindness

When African bushmen come across and greet each other, one initiates the greeting with “I see you!”, the reply being, “I am here!”

On the day of New Year’s Eve, I always hope for something new, perhaps something better. I wonder if I’ll discover a new interest or really “see” someone for the first time.

I needed to pick up a few things from the Watkins Glen Walmart, and proceeded to a register line with only one other customer ahead of me.

Dawn Miller was the cashier who didn’t reveal much in her facial expression, not giving me much to “see” or discover. I thought to myself, “I wonder what her story is?”, always amazed at how often we make assumptions about each other, rarely being able to say “I see you!” and rarely learning the other’s story.

The customer in front of me, whose name I later learned was Kevin, was legally blind and carried a small backpack for his groceries on one shoulder, while his other hand attached to his dog’s harness. Dawn spoke to his dog first. “So how are you today? Say hello to everybody….good boy!” The dog, Norm, a golden retriever with a heart-melting stare, simply rested his chin on the counter, waiting for his treat. This was clearly not the first visit for Kevin, Norm and Dawn.

A few of the groceries were not going to fit into the knapsack, so Dawn said to the gentleman, “I’m going to put these few things in an extra-large bag, then I’ll double bag them. This way you can just let them hang from your arm without worrying about the bag breaking.”

Then, turning to me, she said,

“Sorry to hold you up, sir.”

“No problem at all,” I answered. “Take all the time you need.”

Kevin then chimed in, “Yes, sorry about the hold up.” “You’re doing great. No problem, sir,” I replied.

Kevin then pulled a large magnifying glass out of his pocket to see where he needed to slide his credit card. When the transaction was completed, he zippered his coat, slung the knapsack over his shoulder and the double-bagged items over his arm, found Norm’s harness, and carefully made his way out of the store.

I watched him leave. I looked at Dawn with the unexpressive face, but I began to see her. She looked back and said, “It’s so much easier to be kind, especially with all the ugliness in this world.”

“Amen,” I replied. And as I paid for my groceries, I said, “Please keep up the kindness. We so need it.”

She smiled, “Have a good day, sir!”

I already had.

Andrew Seubert –