One of the hardest gifts to give.

 In Personal

Earlier this month I ventured out to Kroger where I normally do my grocery shopping here in Gainesville. They say its the largest Kroger this side of the Mississippi, but I think that’s a rumor. At any rate, this is a very large Kroger. As soon as I entered the store, I found myself in the produce section. I browsed the produce section and decided I wanted to get some bananas. The Kroger employee stocking bananas began talking to me before I could even look at him.  

“These ones (bananas) here are 1/2 price today.” he said. He made a gesture with his hand toward some very ripe, almost brown bananas. I couldn’t help but notice the better quality bananas he was also stocking. 

“Not today.” I responded, grabbing some bananas he just put out. I looked at him for the first time and noticed that this man was probably around my age or a little older. He was bald and had tattoos covering his arms and up around his neck. He had an inviting smile, but was also clearly missing a few teeth. I noticed his name tag—it read ‘Bruce’.

Bruce smiled and said, “I at least have to try.” We both chuckled and I went on with my grocery shopping. 

I get a wide range of items to try every now and then, but more times than not, I go for Kroger’s chicken tortilla soup. Its the only soup they make that I like and, at $3.99 a quart, I consider it a deal. I picked up two containers of soup. They were each in a container made out of plastic. I placed the soup in the upper level of the buggy (or shopping cart) where a baby or toddler would normally sit. I started to head out of the produce section when all of a sudden one of the soup containers fell through one of the holes of the buggy meant for a baby’s leg. The container landed right on the floor and made a popping noise. It was the kind of noise that didn’t make me feel good. 

I look down on the floor and noticed the soup had busted and had splattered everywhere. The cold soup splattered so far that it dirtied other food packages in the area—not to mention, it also got all over my clothes. I was completely embarrassed. The place where I had dropped the soup was also in a small isle that was busy with shoppers coming in and out. 

I remembered Bruce and thought maybe he would know what to do. I ran over to produce and went up to him and told him the bad news. Bruce came over to assess the situation and told me that it was completely okay. I apologized to him and offered to still pay for the soup. Bruce was taking none of that. He quickly got me some paper towels to clean up the mess and also got me a new container of soup to replace the busted one.

I thanked him tremendously and he told me to forget about the incident. 

I went on with my shopping, but couldn’t help but think about Bruce and my soup accident. Bruce was someone that I may have initially judged simply based on his appearance. However, his kindness and patience towards me completely wiped away any initial ill judgment.

Often times during the holiday season, we find ourselves busy and sometimes that can cause us to be impatient, especially with our families and close friends. Patience is a virtue and its one of the hardest gifts to give. It requires us to be humble and selfless which is something money can’t buy.

This holiday season I encourage you to give a little patience even when someone doesn’t deserve it. You never know what that might do for them. 

Follow up: I called Kroger to give a compliment of Bruce a week later. They told me that he moved on to a better job. Good for Bruce.

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