Staring Down

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Staring Down

Do you ever won­der why you are where you are at any given moment?

Often it doesn’t make sense. We know life is a pro­ces­sion of instances where we learn and/​or share what has already been learned, but far too often the sar­donic adage of when you’re up to your neck in alli­ga­tors it’s dif­fi­cult to remem­ber the orig­i­nal objec­tive was drain­ing the swamp comes to mind. It’s easy to say “trust God — Romans 8:28.” It’s quite a dif­fer­ent thing to do when you’re recall­ing a loved one now gone away, wish­ing with all you have you could talk to them jut once more. Heaven awaits those who believe, yet eter­nity remains an eter­nity away.

Lessons learned at my employer prior to the cur­rent one occa­sion­ally come to mind, and often come in quite handy where I now work. It would be easy to say said lessons were why I was there. How­ever, there was one moment when … well, here’s the story.

I held the not ter­ri­bly lofty posi­tion of cus­tomer ser­vice man­ager. Trans­la­tion: I was respon­si­ble for ser­vic­ing the cus­tomers by expe­dit­ing their sojourn through the check­stands. A tad dif­fi­cult when you were at the last remain­ing store in the West­ern Hemi­sphere that rang every­thing man­u­ally, and on any day end­ing in a y you didn’t have enough cashiers, thus forc­ing you to call depart­ment heads who were invari­ably swamped with their own projects. But hey. Some­one had to pay for those ille­gal museum ship­ments. But I digress.

One after­noon, a cus­tomer approached me hold­ing a ladies wal­let. She said she had found it in one of the pot­ted plants out­side the store. Said wal­let had the individual’s dri­vers license, cell­phone, and car keys, lead­ing to the log­i­cal con­clu­sion they would be look­ing for it. I thanked the guest, and doubt­less in direct vio­la­tion of any num­ber of the company’s five bajil­lion rules designed to turn all into mind­less drones (but hey, it gave us Sun­day off) held on to the wal­let instead of imme­di­ately hav­ing it locked away in the store safe.

A few min­utes later, a police offi­cer came in and asked me if we car­ried mar­bles; his son wanted some. It occurred to me to men­tion the wal­let. He said he’d keep an eye out for any­one look­ing for it.

Shortly there­after, a young woman entered the store. She was very petite and not unat­trac­tive. She headed straight toward me and said, “I believe you have some­thing of mine.” Which I did; a quick glance at the dri­vers license declared the wal­let was hers.

I handed it to her.

She began to cry.

Now, I’ve been in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions where tears of relief came in response to a returned, intact wal­let or purse. Thus, I com­mented it was okay.

Actu­ally, no it wasn’t, as the young woman replied with the rea­son she was crying.

Her father had just died.

Need­less to say, this was not a topic cov­ered in the cus­tomer ser­vice man­ager handbook.

The young woman asked if there was some­where she could sit down. The only thing avail­able was the store wheel­chair, so I grabbed it and sat her down. She said she des­per­ately needed to use the restroom, so I pushed her in the wheel­chair across the store to same.

Once she emerged, she said she didn’t think she could stand, so I sat her back down in the wheel­chair and gave her a slow tour of the store, alter­nat­ing between express­ing sen­ti­ments shared by those of us in the unfor­tu­nate fel­low­ship she had now entered and doing my best to com­fort her. Some­times she cried. Some­times she even laughed at one of my silly com­ments. And so we con­tin­ued for a half-​hour or so until she felt together enough to drive home. We hugged, and she left.

I haven’t seen her since.

I pray she’s doing okay.

I pray I did my Dad proud.

And yes, I believe that moment was why I was there.

Do you ever wonder why you are where you are at any given moment?

Often it doesn’t make sense. We know life is a procession of instances where we learn and/or share what has already been learned, but far too often the sardonic adage of when you’re up to your neck in alligators it’s difficult to remember the original objective was draining the swamp comes to mind. It’s easy to say “trust God – Romans 8:28.” It’s quite a different thing to do when you’re recalling a loved one now gone away, wishing with all you have you could talk to them jut once more. Heaven awaits those who believe, yet eternity remains an eternity away.

Lessons learned at my employer prior to the current one occasionally come to mind, and often come in quite handy where I now work. It would be easy to say said lessons were why I was there. However, there was one moment when … well, here’s the story.

I held the not terribly lofty position of customer service manager. Translation: I was responsible for servicing the customers by expediting their sojourn through the checkstands. A tad difficult when you were at the last remaining store in the Western Hemisphere that rang everything manually, and on any day ending in a y you didn’t have enough cashiers, thus forcing you to call department heads who were invariably swamped with their own projects. But hey. Someone had to pay for those illegal museum shipments. But I digress.

One afternoon, a customer approached me holding a ladies wallet. She said she had found it in one of the potted plants outside the store. Said wallet had the individual’s drivers license, cellphone, and car keys, leading to the logical conclusion they would be looking for it. I thanked the guest, and doubtless in direct violation of any number of the company’s five bajillion rules designed to turn all into mindless drones (but hey, it gave us Sunday off) held on to the wallet instead of immediately having it locked away in the store safe.

A few minutes later, a police officer came in and asked me if we carried marbles; his son wanted some. It occurred to me to mention the wallet. He said he’d keep an eye out for anyone looking for it.

Shortly thereafter, a young woman entered the store. She was very petite and not unattractive. She headed straight toward me and said, “I believe you have something of mine.” Which I did; a quick glance at the drivers license declared the wallet was hers.

I handed it to her.

She began to cry.

Now, I’ve been in similar situations where tears of relief came in response to a returned, intact wallet or purse. Thus, I commented it was okay.

Actually, no it wasn’t, as the young woman replied with the reason she was crying.

Her father had just died.

Needless to say, this was not a topic covered in the customer service manager handbook.

The young woman asked if there was somewhere she could sit down. The only thing available was the store wheelchair, so I grabbed it and sat her down. She said she desperately needed to use the restroom, so I pushed her in the wheelchair across the store to same.

Once she emerged, she said she didn’t think she could stand, so I sat her back down in the wheelchair and gave her a slow tour of the store, alternating between expressing sentiments shared by those of us in the unfortunate fellowship she had now entered and doing my best to comfort her. Sometimes she cried. Sometimes she even laughed at one of my silly comments. And so we continued for a half-hour or so until she felt together enough to drive home. We hugged, and she left.

I haven’t seen her since.

I pray she’s doing okay.

I pray I did my Dad proud.

And yes, I believe that moment was why I was there.