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Monday, December 01, 2008

A different kind of Thanksgiving….

The Friday after Thanksgiving, I had my shopping planned out down to each detail. I set the alarm for the early hour of 4am. I had my list of items to buy at which store and in what order. I even made a priority of items to get at each store so no time or energy would be wasted.

I arrived at my first stop with 5 minutes to spare. By the looks of the parking lot, I would need the extra time! To my surprise, I parked rather close on the side of the store. As I walked into the store, I was a bit discouraged by the crowd, especially in the electronics department. I had picked up a couple bonus items on my way back through the crowd.

As I approached the area, a young lady saw my look of amazement of the crowd and asked me what I was looking to buy. This lady did not work for the store but ended up being very helpful in pointing me to another department where they had set up a display of the #1 item on my list. This started my day off with a smile. I checked off my list and proceeded onto item #2. When I arrived in that department, I was told that my requested item was sold. The helpful clerk said politely, “oh yes, those were gone in the first five minutes of the store opening.” Disappointed, I thought to myself, “oh well, can’t have everything.” But for some odd reason, I went ahead and looked for it anyway. To my surprise, I found it! The last one was sitting way in the back of the case. It was hidden by some other boxes. Was that the right one? Did the clerk know it was there? I started second guessing. So, I had to flag down that same clerk and ask for his assistance to get it out of the locked cabinet. Sure enough, it was exactly what I was looking for! The clerk just smiled at me and said, “Ten people have asked me for that item, and I told them we were out. You were in the right place at the right time!”.

With this item, I needed to stand in that department to purchase it. I began talking to the lady behind me. She made comments on the things in my basket. She told me fond memories of her children and told me to treasure the moments while they are young because it goes by so fast. The line started moving and I continued to talk to the nice lady behind me. I was also beginning to think about the remaining items on my list. I started to tell her about “THE GIFT” that my daughter wanted for Christmas. I told her that I was hoping that the last one would not be gone by the time I made it through the line. To that, she took it upon herself to help me. She elicited the help of some kind gentlemen. These gentlemen were not workers for the store; they were husbands that were along with their wives for the shopping day! They volunteered to get “THE GIFT” and bring it to me so I wouldn’t lose my place in line. At this point, I wanted to just hug their necks! Instead, I gave a warm thank you and continued through the checkout.

What is often thought to be a very frustrating day was quite the opposite for me so far. Now, it was time for my second stop. I knew when I walked into the store I probably wouldn’t have as much success, but that was okay. I went to the first department asking for my next listed item. I was told that there had only been 40 of those ordered and all of them had been sold. So, I put a mark on my list and moved on through the store. As I walked through one of the aisles, I saw a woman with a full cart. On the top of the cart was one of the 40! I told her as I passed by, “whoever you are buying for is very lucky!” She told me that she wasn’t really sure that she was even going to buy it, since she already had so many similar things at home for her kids. She then reached into her cart and handed it to me and thanked me for making her decision easier! I must have turned every shade of red. I jumped up and down like a school age child. I was so delighted. I didn’t have to utter the words thank you; she knew by my excitement just how much I appreciated it.

I was on a natural high. Now where was I on my list? I had to get back on track here. Okay, check, check, check, now one more thing and onto the next store.
As I entered the next store I thought to myself “if I found nothing else on my list it would still be considered a successful trip.” I walked in and was greeted by a young man’s voice, “Good morning, can I help you find anything today.” Any other day, this would have been a normal, expected greeting at the front of the store. But I looked around and it was so crowded with lines wrapped around the store; and he took the time to still be cheerful? It was just one more kind act to add to my list. I actually answered the gentlemen, “YES, as a matter of fact you can help me”. He showed me where my next item on my list was located in the store. He also helped get down a couple bonus items down off the top shelf.
I was done with my shopping!

When I walked out the door, I thought it might be nice just to go into one more store, just to look. I walked in and began talking to the owner. I soon found out that I was talking to my manager’s sister. She then proceeded to tell me that any friend of her sister’s was a friend of hers, so she offered me 25% off everything in the store. To this, I picked up 2 items that I really wanted for myself. I gave them to my husband when I got home and told him that he just got 2 more Christmas presents for me. He was thrilled!

At the end of my shopping trip I was very happy with my successful purchases. My husband and children will be so excited about their presents under the tree this year. But today I got “THE GIFT”. I got the best gift you can receive….the kindness of others. It lifted my spirit, it warmed my heart and it made me stop and think about why we do it all. We do the list making, the waking up at the crack of dawn, the endless shopping for one reason only; to celebrate God’s greatest gift that HE gave to us!

I saw that today in the selfless kindness of others around me. Someone told me recently, “life is too short”. This is so true! Life is way too short. So, love deeply and love fully to the ones that are near and dear but also to those that you share even a brief encounter.
You never know how much you will impact another person’s life!

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