Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Uncommon Kindness

Grocery shopping is a stressful event for me.  I enjoy planning what I will buy, sorting the coupons, and putting everything away after - organizing it, using it in the meals I planned.  I hate doing the shopping.  Today I had several stores to visit (Costco, Target, Rainbow, Post Office), all while wearing baby Bruce in my Ergo carrier.  It's a lot of lifting, bagging, packing, putting in and out of the car, calming unhappy baby, getting hot and sweaty, etc.

But whatever happened to common kindness?! Even doing a task I don't enjoy - and being mildly stressed by baby, bagging, and being in a rush - I find no reason to ever be rude.  The lady behind me in checkout was also in several of the same aisles as me.  She seemed in no hurry as she slowly browsed and examined labels.  She parks her cart in the middle of the aisle and I wait a couple minutes for her to notice me and move before I turn around and exit the other way, skipping the rest of the aisle.

Yes, I am so conflict avoidant I cannot even manage an "excuse me."  When she is in the checkout lane behind me and the cashier runs into an issue with my WIC items, suddenly she notices me.  Suddenly she is in a hurry I guess.  All the sighs and impatient noises she utters cannot change the situation or make things go faster.  And why is she so annoyed by my baby? "That would go much faster if you weren't holding him." she retorts of Bruce and my bagging process.

This doesn't sound like much but I have encountered so many cranky, rude people lately.  They seem intent on making others as miserable as they are.

What happened smiles? Last week when I was at the store I helped an elderly woman bag her groceries, despite having Bruce in a carrier on my chest.  I picked up (again, with baby on board AND a horrid tummy ache) all the pop cases a man in a motorized cart knocked over and was struggling to pick up. I smile at strangers and tell them how cute their kids are.

One time my daughter was in the throws of a meltdown in the frozen food aisle and a woman stopped to grab yogurt.  She smiled at me and said "You're doing a good job."  It made my day, my week, my month! It certainly got me through that grocery trip and that meltdown.

So my challenge to you is to spread kindness, which has become oh-so-uncommon these days.  Bless someone, make their day just a little better.  Or, at the very least, don't make it worse. :)