This evening after work and dinner, I had to run to Walmart to pick up a prescription for my wife as well as to get her a few things to eat. With her being sick, she is specific on what she wants to eat so the mini 7ups and mint n chip ice cream was on my list. And because I was there I added a few items for my eats — even though I wasn’t sick.
As I was checking out in the 20 items or less line, I greeted Kathleen, my cashier. She was an older lady in her late 50′s or early 60′s. And like I always do, I asked how her day had been.
—– Tangent ON —–
I don’t remember if I blogged about this previously or not. Right now I can’t find it.
As a way to be the light of Jesus to the world, a while ago I had decided to stop asking people “How are you?”. I have done this because #1) our society has programmed people to just respond in a canned way that doesn’t match up with how we really are doing. How many times have you responded to that same question with a “Fine”, “OK”, or “Good” when you really felt like crap or were having a bad day. #2) Even if we were to reveal how we were feeling, the chances of someone listening are close to nil. We all recognize that this isn’t really an inquiry to how we are doing but just a method of greeting. The whole concern for others has been watered down especially in informal relations or where you don’t know the person.
So I decided to replace the “How are you?” with a more probing and concerned “How is your day going?”. In my experience it jump starts the rote conversation from benign “converse because you have to” into a true conversation of caring. I have had so many good interactions with cashiers, service people, team members, colleagues, and other folks it has been amazing. And not all the responses were “I am fine” or “I am having a good day”. Some have been “My relative is sick” or “It’s been a long day here at work”. Those are opportunities where I can show concern and empathy and also offer to pray for their specific situation. To this date, I have yet to have someone deny my prayer for them. Even if they aren’t a believer they aren’t going to stop my offer to pray for them because it doesn’t cost them anything and it covers their bases, right?
—– Tangent OFF —–
So Kathleen’s response to my “How has your day been?” was interesting. She said she was tired and had been there since 5:30. I asked “5:30 AM or PM?”
Her response was “5:30 AM“.
Now it was 7:30pm which means she had put in a full day and then some. I don’t know if she was covering for someone or worked a double shift but she was definitely putting in her time.
And then she mentioned that she works two jobs. I applauded her efforts and said “Good for you”. She then replied something that I wasn’t expecting. She said “Those people who say they can’t find jobs are full of it”.
Again, I applauded her efforts and encouraged her hardworking attitude. I then said that I hoped she got a full day of rest tomorrow since she would be off from both her jobs.
All this coming from a Walmart cashier. What a great hardworking spirit and someone most of us would overlook. Way to go Kathleen! I am proud of you and will look for your checkout line each time I purchase something at Walmart. Thanks for all of your hard work.
…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net