Yesterday was less than ideal. A self-pity hurricane had reached a category five.
Emotion was driving my “crazy train.” It is a frightful driver.
This morning my mentor and dear friend gave me excellent advice. “This is an opportunity to develop a servant’s heart, ” she said.
I carried her words with me all day. I hugged them for comfort. The day blessed me. Occasionally, my stubborn, more arrogant self would try to rear her ugly head but I saw her coming and quickly got out of the way. It was a good day. . . a good day that got infinitely better when I chatted with Amy.
Amy is a grocery clerk at our local Grocery Outlet. Amy’s ready smile and kind nature have always drawn me to her. I was happy to get in her line at the checkout. Conversation with Amy is easy. I told her that one of my favorite jobs was working in a small grocery store years ago. She started to tell me that “I must be a people person like her.”
Suddenly, Amy is telling me that her job has given her the opportunity to save lives. She told me that she knows at least 4 people whose lives she saved. She tells this without pride. She is surprised by the amazing impact she’s had on people and speaks of her experiences with a reverence and humility.
Twice people have come through her check out line and told her that she is the reason they are still alive. They told her the same story with different words. No one talked to them kindly. They traveled through life as if they were invisible. No one spoke to them as if they cared whether they lived or died until Amy did. It wasn’t as much what she said as how she said it. With Amy, they weren’t invisible. Amy had changed their minds about dying because of how she treated them. She treats people like they matter.
Amy also told of the vet suffering from PTSD who was going to go home and kill his wife and then himself. Before he could do so he went through her grocery line. His life wasn’t the same after that. Something caused him to tell Amy what he was feeling and what he planned to do. She took a long break and went with him into the parking lot to talk. What ever Amy said gave the man hope. She encouraged him to get help and he did. He and his wife are still regular customers.
She told me that she knows that she probably should have called the police that day but she didn’t because she knew that this man had had some really rough times and knew that the police wouldn’t give “him what he needed.” She said, “He was really hurting.”
Amy’s kindness blesses her co-workers as well. A quiet co-worker confided in Amy that she was planning on taking her life. Amy, encouraged her to get help and she did that very night. Amy is pleased that all these people are doing so much better now. “They were going through some tough times,” she said. Amy looked away and expertly continued packing my groceries. In her face, I saw a personal awareness of what tough times are. She knows much more than she says.
As Amy talked to me, I got goosebumps. A hero was ringing up my groceries. Her apron doesn’t fit her that well. Her long hair is pulled into a pony tail. Amy doesn’t look remarkable. She simply is remarkable. I was blessed and honored by her words. She told me that “I’ve been here six years because I love my job. I always wanted to do something that would serve people, really help them and I am.” Amy has a servant’s heart.
Amy is a simple grocery clerk. She always looks a little pale and tired. She doesn’t dress or act like a hero or a person of power and influence, but she is. Amy, you touched my life today in a profound way. You showed me a humility that I can only hope to emulate. Thank you, Amy.