“Go find your wife!”

 

 

To put this post in context I should begin by saying that I have had a bad day. All sorts of things big and small have been going wrong.

I have been highly stressed and then when I was about to go out, my wife and I had a pointless argument over something trivial that spoiled my afternoon.

 

 

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My wife does most of her grocery shopping at Costco. Costco is a huge store selling grocery and other products at reduced prices; it operates on a membership-only basis.

My wife and I went shopping together in the early evening, beginning with Costco. The store is usually crowded, especially on days before holidays.

I decided to wait outside while my wife was shopping. Big Costco-like stores tire me.

After a half an hour or so, I got bored and restless. I’ll go inside and see if I can find my wife, I thought. Better wandering the aisles and gawking at shoppers than sitting still.

There was a burly guy at the entrance. He was talking with a coworker and didn’t seem to notice me. But then he said something indistinct indicating that he was inquiring whether I was a Costco member. I knew it was a members-only store, and on the rare occasions when I am there with my wife she shows her card at the door.

I might have just kept going (pretending I hadn’t heard). Sometimes that works. But I thought to myself, honesty is probably the best policy. It usually is.

“I’m looking for my wife. She’s shopping,” I said. Then I added, “I don’t have a Costco card.”

“You’re looking for your wife?” he replied with a big smile. He seemed amused, acted as if that tickled him.

“Welcome, brother!” he said. “Go find your wife!”

This little incident and interaction made my day and magically helped offset or reduce the tension I had been feeling. The Costco “gatekeeper” displayed humanity and a lack of officiousness.

The moral of the story. The smallest acts of human empathy and kindness can do more good than one would think and can have an incremental effect in terms of their larger benefits.

 
— Roger W. Smith

   December 23, 2019

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