Having three boys, I make a lot of trips to Costco. On my latest trip I was picking up stuff for my son before he heads back to school. Those noodles in a cup were on his list. I intended to get the noodles. After all, he is a college student and ramen is pretty much a requirement. I headed down the aisle and found noodles in a cup and the regular packages of ramen. I kept going back and forth on what to do. I know the cup is super convenient, at least for its single-use. It isn’t so convenient in the long run, with all the Styrofoam we’re creating. I didn’t want to make the decision on my own, since I wasn’t certain that he’d take the time to make the slow cook ramen. With that dilemma, I decided to give him a call and ask him if it would be alright for me to purchase the traditional ramen. After I explained my reasoning, he said sure and I loaded up a couple of boxes.
I barely had them in my cart before a lady approached me and said that I would probably think she was crazy, but she wanted to thank me for making that phone call. I guess she heard my discussion and just couldn’t leave the store without telling me. First off, I talk to anyone and everyone in stores, my boys will attest to this. I love to talk with people so I didn’t find her crazy in the least for approaching me. Secondly, why would I think she was a weirdo for expressing kind words? Quite the opposite, I felt like we’d be fast friends and thought we should exchange information. I refrained because that would make me look like a weirdo.
So instead, I just thanked her for taking the time to tell me that and we chatted for a bit. She owns a daycare and does what she can for the planet and it was just a nice moment in a hectic and chaotic world. I’ll never see this woman again, but she had me beaming the rest of the day. That simple gesture made my week. In fact, I’m still thinking about it. Our words are powerful and her taking the time to point out her appreciation deserved a lot more kudos than me calling my kiddo to approve his noodles.
My act was simple, her act took some courage. I’m certain it was out of her comfort zone to do what she did, but it reminded me that I need to step out of mine more often. That’s really where beautiful things happen. Being kind sometimes has a risk of rejection. That woman had no idea how I’d respond. In a world full of “Karens“ you never know, but it left a mark on me for sure (apologies to my friends named Karen, who I love). Her thoughtfulness reminded me that I can do more to spread sunshine, sometimes just with words. We don’t change the world in our comfort zone. I’m going to try to be more like that stranger in Costco and find ways to make someone’s day. I’m sure she’s long forgotten our encounter, but it will definitely be with me forever.