I was at the grocery store the other day rushing to get into line. A few feet behind me there was a woman with a loaded cart. Rushing to stay ahead of her, I thought to myself that I was glad that I was in front. Holding onto my three items, I zipped into the line behind a gentleman. Relieved that he didn’t seem to have much either, I was mildly surprised when he turned said to me “you can get in front of us”.
It turns out that his wife was the one with that loaded cart and he was holding their place in line. Feeling humbled, I thanked them both and stepped forward. In front of me was a large woman in an electric cart. She also had a full-sized cart. She rolled forward and the cashier began unloading her items. She had over 200 cans of cat food among a few other groceries. Being in a rush I thought “oh no, this is going to take forever.” The clerk was struggling between unloading the cart and going back to her register to ring up the items.
I felt bad for the woman in the electric cart because she couldn’t really help herself—that snapped me out of my rush. Stepping forward, I began to unload the cart. When I initially bent down to pick up the first cans, I caught a pungent odor from her. She thanked me in a voice so low I could hardly hear her. Unexpectedly, I almost began to cry because at that moment I began to imagine what life for her must be like. To say I was no longer in a hurry was an understatement. Patience washed over me as I quietly unloaded her items.
Even when we have the best intentions in life, we sometimes take the smallest things for granted. We forget to actively seek patience and humbleness. I’m not usually in a rush but I was that day. There was nowhere in particular I needed to be. I was just tired and felt impatient. And yet here I was being forced to slow down.
As I unloaded those cans of cat food, I couldn’t help but wonder why she had so many. The only other items she had was a loaf of bread and a single-size veggie tray. I’d heard about elderly people being forced to eat cat food and I felt horrified that this was actually a possibility. She sat there so still with her head down. I had an urge to hug her but dared not to and I felt helpless. I’ve had to rely on others while recuperating from surgeries- one of which was a shattered ankle. I remember what it felt like to be helpless and not able to accomplish what I needed to do without assistance. As the cashier profusely thanked me for helping them, I told her it was really no big deal.
But it was a big deal. More than that, it was actually an honor. To be slowed down from my “perceived” rush. To have that man allow me in front of him and his wife humbled me because I was rushing to get ahead of her in line. Sure, I had only three items but why so rushed? Then, to find myself assisting this woman humbled me further as a reminder that we are always an accident, lost job, or other tragedy away from being in her shoes. I swallowed my tears and continued to unload her cart because now I was in a hurry to get out of there before I lost control.
The cashier thanked me again and told me that God was going to bless me for that. I told her she had no idea how much He already had. I thanked the couple again for allowing me in front of them and left.
Kim Woods earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems at DeVry University. She developed a love for writing poetry and short stories as a child. Kim is socially conscience and her desire to use her life experiences to help others is what drives her to seek opportunities to share her story. She decided to write freelance for the Bolder Sister because it is her desire that women evolve and thrive in their own authentic truth.
Kim resides in Chicago, Illinois and has one son, Donald. In addition to writing, she spends free time creating unique wall art, decorating, and teaching herself how to sculpture. She also has a blog Who Will Speak.
Bolder Sisters, have you ever experienced a humbling event? What did you learn from it?