Sarah Owen Bigler had hoped for a quick and easy trip to Target. Her husband was sick and she had her two kids in tow.
She thought the odds were in her favor when she got in a line with just one customer in front of her.
Then she noticed the patron who was paying: It was an elderly woman who was not only paying for each of her purchases separately, but was paying with change.
At first, Sarah was annoyed. She explains:
“Part of me, the part that had a long day at work, the part of me who had a 1 1/2 year old having a melt down in the cart, the part that had set an unnecessary timeline for Target and getting home, was frustrated with this woman and the inconvenience she had placed on me.”
But then she took notice of the Target employee who was manning the register.
“I watched him help her count her change, ever so tenderly taking it from her shaking hands. I listened to him repeatedly saying ‘yes, ma'am’ to her. When she asked if she had enough to buy a reusable bag, he told her she did and went two lines over to get one for her and then repackaged her items. Never once did this employee huff, gruff or roll his eyes."
She realized that her young daughter was also watching the man’s every move— paying attention to his utmost patience and kindness. At that moment, Sarah knew that she had not been inconvenienced at all.
In fact, she was certain that she was in the right place at exactly the right time.
“My daughter was… being taught this valuable lesson by a complete stranger; furthermore, I realized that I too needed a refresher on this lesson,” she says.
After the woman finished paying, the Target employee, who Sarah learned was named Ishmael, apologized for the delay. Sarah responded that there was no need to apologize; she was thankful for what she had just witnessed.
He quickly rang up her items and when he was finished, Sarah made a point to relay her experience to Ishmael’s manager.
“We left Target with a cart full of consumable items [and] a heart full of gratitude for such an invaluable lesson,” she says.