Christine Turel works at a small, indie bookstore and was having a normal day at the job. But then, a “little old lady” walked in that was going to leave a huge mark on Christine’s heart.
Christine was so moved by the encounter she witnessed, she immediately wrote into Love What Matters to share the story.
“I work in a decent sized, local, indie bookstore. It’s a great job 99% of the time and a lot of our customers are pretty neat people. Anywho, middle of the day this little old lady comes up. She’s lovably kooky. She effuses how much she loves the store and how she wishes she could spend more time in it but her husband is waiting in the car ‘OH! I BETTER BUY HIM SOME CHOCOLATE!’ She piles a bunch of art supplies on the counter and then stops and tells me how my bangs are beautiful and remind her of the ocean,” Christine wrote.
The quirky woman makes a “whooshing” sound as she sweeps her hand across the air. Christine loves customers like this – “weird little old ladies” that are “comfortably bananas” she described.
As Christine and the woman were talking, a kid comes up behind the woman with an armful of textbooks – the woman demands that he set the books down on the counter.
Confused and thinking the woman was simply relieving him of carrying the books, and as he’s hesitant about setting them down, the woman calmly tells him that she’ll be paying for all of his textbooks.
“He goes sheetrock white. He refuses and adamantly insists that she can’t do that. It’s like, $400 worth of textbooks. She, this tiny old woman, boldly takes them out of his hands, throws them on the counter and turns to me with an intense stare and tells me to put them on her bill.”
The young man is practically moved to tears at this point. Then, the woman grabs handfuls of chocolate and starts putting them in her pile. “You need chocolate,” she said.
“He keeps asking her ‘why are you doing this?’ She responds ‘Do you like Harry Potter?’ and throws a copy of the new Cursed Child on the pile too.”
Finally, after her random and generous gifts to the college student she doesn’t even know, Christine rings up the woman’s bill for a fairly hefty amount. The woman happily pays and asks that the young man receive a few bags to carry everything.
As Christine bags up the books and chocolate, the kid hugs the woman in gratitude. Both the young man and Christine praising her for her good deed and how amazing she is.
Then – the woman turned to both of them and said the most ‘profound and unscripted’ things Christine has ever heard.
‘It’s important to be kind. You can’t know all the times that you’ve hurt people in tiny, significant ways. It’s easy to be cruel without meaning to be. There’s nothing you can do about that. But you can choose to be kind. Be kind,’ the woman said.
The student leaves the store and Christine continues to tell the woman how wonderful she is, while the woman simply stared out the window as the boy walked away.
‘My son is a homeless meth addict. I don’t know what I did. I see that boy and I see the man my son could have been if someone had chosen to be kind to him at just the right time.’
Christine goes silent and continues to finish bagging, unsure what to say. And, of course, the woman leaves her with one last wonderful comment…
‘I wish I could have bangs like that but my darn hair is just too curly.’
Then? She left! Christine ends her post by saying she was the best customer she’s ever had. She also leaves one last reminder – be kind to somebody today.
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