Paying Attention–Bridgit at Wal Mart

Day 1 of the great card giveaway.

The idea came from Maria during a walk she and I took yesterday around Lake Murray in La Mesa, CA. We were trying to figure out how my gifts for photography and writing and a love of making cards (as in greeting cards) could combine into a set of goals.

I love photography. I love looking at an image and finding the words to express what I see in the image. I love putting the two together into a card. And, finally, I love giving the cards away to people. Up till today, people included friends and family. No total strangers in the mix.

But how cool would it be to give a card to the people I see around me who for one reason or another seem to need an encouragement, a thank you, or just a random neat thing? It sounded like a plan.

Today I packed the cards I had on hand in my shoulder bag, put in a pen, and headed off to do my shopping.

There is a big difference in how people behave depending upon the type of store they’re in, though I’d have to track one particular person through a series of stores to conclusively prove my theory. Home Depot is very task-oriented and intense, even in the garden department. Not a lot of joy, just get-it-done and let’s get home and finish the task attitudes. The men were most noticeable, as is usually the case, looking in the screw bins, pointing their overloaded carts toward the checkout counter, telling their women what needed to be done and how and why. I checked prices on some things and left.

Wal-Mart, on the other hand, was ripe with need. The women were in charge here, directing their kids to pull various things off the shelves, telling their younger kids not to pull things off the shelves, and checking their lists for the next item. Because my local Wal-Mart is midway into a remodel, nothing is where it’s supposed to be and people are confused and, in many cases, short-tempered. There is one employee I’d noticed the last time I was there. She is the one employee everyone looks to because she not only knows where everything is, she’ll show you with a smile how to get there from here, and will escort you to the spot if that’s your preference. She answers questions from her colleagues and customers all at the same time and is in a state of perpetual motion. She radiates patient kindness. Her name is Bridgit.

I saw Bridgit helping people and before I’d gone two steps I knew I’d have to give her the thank you card I had in my bag.

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Inside the card it says


“THANK YOU. Your grace and wisdom have lightened my burden yet again.”

I wrote inside it thanking her for being so patient with us all and for being so kind. I put on the envelope “To the cheerful store woman” and added her name when I tracked her down in the gum and candy aisle. I handed her the card and said this is for you, to thank you for being so kind and patient with us. She smiled big and said thank you and shook my hand. I babbled something else like I was sure I’d see her again, and we parted. Then I felt like crying, and I don’t know why or what that meant.

I am now paying attention.

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