The kindness of a stranger
Small actions can make a big difference
Claire’s husband of 57 years had spent most of his career as a grocery store manager, which naturally defaulted the weekly chore of grocery shopping to him. Until his cancer advanced to a point where he could no longer walk and Claire found herself grocery shopping for the first time at 76 years old.
“It took me over an hour and a half to find everything I needed on my short list. Who knew lime juice would be stocked in the baking aisle instead of the juice aisle?” she laughs. The struggle in finding items was exacerbated with the constant bending as Claire scanned each shelf from bottom to top given her bad hip and much-needed knee replacement.
“It may have taken me a while, but I did it,” she says. “And I was proud of myself – until standing in line at the till when I realized that I would be doing the grocery shopping for the rest of my life.”
The certainty of becoming a widow in the near future and doing things alone hit Claire with full force. Lost in thought, memories, and an unknown future, she didn’t realize the line had progressed until the woman in front of her started chatting and helping her with unloading items from her grocery cart to the conveyor belt.
“I don’t know what that lady saw in my face but it’s like she just knew I was completely overwhelmed in that moment," says Claire.
"She not only talked me back to reality while helping me unload my cart, but she helped me bag my groceries and walked me to the car to help unload them. She had no idea what I was going through or the significance of a simple grocery shop. It made a huge difference and I will never forget the kindness of a stranger!”
Doing local good isn’t just about donating money. It’s also about caring for our community and the people who live in it. September is United Way month and we’re challenging all individuals to show their local love by doing local good – through time, talent or treasure. Because doing good feels good!