Random Act of Understanding and Patience



One of my employees was telling me a story this morning at work, of an event that happened to her last night. She had run over to the Dollar Store to pick something up, but was met by a very long line of customers waiting to check out. The line was being delayed by a senior citizen, who had loaded his cart  with the extra large bundles of toilet paper, and had a second cart full of soda, water and an overstock of other commodities. “He looked like had a bad case of OCD”, is how  she described him. He seemed confused and yet overwhelmed at having to complete the “shopping task”, but he  successfully completed the transaction.  Once he was done, he apologized for delaying the line and stated, “I have Parkinson’s and Dementia.”

Have you ever gone to Walmart’s check out line, and line hopped? (Line hopping is jumping from one “lane”to another because one has an appearance of moving faster than the other). Walmart is the only company I know that has 2.2 MILLION employees worldwide, yet I have only seen two cashiers at the three Walmart stores I shop at. Where are all of their employees????   I digress.   

So, the line at Walmart is always long. There is always a person in front of me that needs a price check, or debates the price that rings up as opposed to the price marked, or they have an issue with their check, credit card or they didn’t separate the WIC stuff from the non WIC stuff…on and on it goes. So, I line hop.  I become aggravated with Walmart for only giving my area 2 cashiers, whereas everywhere else in the world must have 1000’s working their lines.

The bank drive through is another pet peeve. I pull in behind the car in front of me and patiently wait. Their ATM card goes, in the slot…..they punch around on the keys….the card pops out.   Oh good, they are done! Right.  NOT.  The person reviews the “receipt”….slide their ATM card in the machine….punch around on the keyboard…and wait.   I wait. I wait some more.  My theory is this: Shouldn’t you know how much money is in the bank before you pull up the ATM? Balance your check book before you go out and stop at the ATM!!!

I stopped the other day at Hardee’s for the Five Dollar Big Bag Special. I order my favorite, one hot-dog, one hamburger, fries and a medium diet coke. Add a soft warm jumbo cookie. Simple order. I pull around to the 1st window, pay the teenage girl who is eager to collect my  $5.18 cent. She chatters away into the microphone that is growing out of her chin. I take the 2 cent change and pull up behind the car in front me. He is handing back a brown bag that is the size of grocery bag. Something is amiss with his order. I put my jeep into park, and patiently listen to my favorite Band, Casting Crowns, as they sing “Love Them Like Jesus.” (I often think Jesus hops in my car and pre-programs my CD shuffle to suit Him at just the right moment.). The brown passes back out of the window, into the car. The man driving, leans out of the window, and asks for something. A hand appears from inside the window, producing a wad of ketchup. The driver leans out again, asking for something else. The mysterious hand reappears with napkins. The man leans out the car again…..the hand produces a drink carrier. By now, I am not loving anyone like Jesus. I am annoyed. FINALLY, the driver pulls away. Finally, I roll up the window, expecting the mysterious hand to have my Five Dollar Bag.  Not happening.  Through the glass, I see the same teenage girl who was working window 1, over that the heat lamps, stuffing my food frantically into the bag. She dashes to the window , microphone still attached to her chin.  “Can you pull forward? The fries aren’t up yet.”  SERIOUSLY?????  Before I can fire off any remarks, she is talking to her chin…”that’s 2 chicken, dark meat, 3 medium fries and….”  Annoyed, I pull forward. I wait. I do think Hardee’s has the same employment guidelines as Walmart. Two workers per store.  I wait some more. Finally my food is walked out by….the same teenage girl.   “Sorry for your wait, have a nice night,” she offers.  I bite into my much wait for and desired hamburger…..it’s cold. I hum along with Casting Crowns…”love them like Jesus”. I picture in my head the event in the Bible where Jesus chased the money changers and hoodlums out of the Temple with whips….I sing even louder…love them like Jesus…….

My point is, if I had been in the line my co-worker had been in last night, at the Dollar Store, I would have found a reason to whine, moan and whimper about “what’s taking so long”. I would have assumed the cashier was slow, the customers disorganized and that the customer service was sub-zero. I would not have known that the elderly man at the counter was someone who needed to take his time, needed a little understanding, needed others to be patient, and needed for all of us to be grateful that we did not have to contend with the obstacles he had to deal with. Parkinson’s and dementia, a powerful mix of robbers, who will, in time, rob this man of his ability to shop for himself, stand in the line to make the purchases, or even find his way to and from the store.     

The next time I am in a line, whether it be at the grocery store,Dollar Store,Hardee’s or even Walmart, I will try my best to not line hop. I will practice the random act of being understanding and patient.  I will try to “love them like Jesus.”   One day, we will all be a bit older, a bit slower…and I hope the people in line behind me, will practice the same act of patience.







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