Thursday, December 4, 2008

Any color of Rose is my favorite.

I was having “one of those days” at work today, and decided to go to the mall, just to get away.  I fought with traffic, became crabbier and made a few snide comments before parking.  I dodged even more cars just to get to the doors!  I had a few more colorful comments about what happens to people this time of year, and proceeded down the hall of packed in shoppers.  It was insane!

I made a right turn to head to the sporting goods store and I saw a girl (late teens) standing as if pasted to the wall.  It was obvious she had a mental disability (I think retardation, but I could be wrong), and that she was afraid.  I stepped over to the right and stood against the wall across from her for a moment to see if she was okay or needed help.  I looked around and noticed another person, a Lady probably in her early 50’s, standing against the same wall (about 30 feet away) watching as well.  This older Lady had a large smile on her face, but still had a look of concern.  I guessed she was the girls Mother, and so I quietly watched for another moment to see how this would play out.

The girl finally took a deep breath, jumped into the herd of stupefied shoppers and tried to make her way to the large department store about another 20 yards down the hall.  I was just irritated at the rudeness people oozed upon this girl, but she would not give up!  I was mortified at the lack of basic politeness within the mob of people.  Regardless, Mom was still about 30 feet behind, watching, obviously very concerned but also very proud.  A quick look back at the girl, and she made her escape into the store!  Mom closed the distance but stood just outside the store, waiting impatiently.  After a couple moments, I decided I couldn’t just stand there anymore (heck, I didn’t even remember what I was shopping for).  So I battled though the mix of bodies and bags to make my way to the Mom.

She turned to look at me just as I was approaching, a little misty eyed.  I said ‘Hello, my name is Predo, I am not a freak or a stalker or anything.  I just noticed you were following that girl.  Is everything okay?  Do you need some assistance?”  Just then, a thin blonde clerk popped her head around the corner. 

“Are you Roses Mom?”

“Yes, do I need to come in?”

“Certainly not, you are simply not allowed to do any peeking!  I just need to know a few sizes for you and PaPa”

They exchanged some numbers, then the clerk said excuse me for a moment.  Her hand was still on the wall in front of us, with her head turned into the store, obviously talking to the girl.

“Okay, is your favorite color fluffy pink or shiny pink?”

Mom said, “Any color of Rose is my favorite.”

(the clerk was quite bright, and caught the relationship to the color and the girls name immediately)

“And PaPa, I’ve heard he hugs pretty tight, is he okay with fluffy as well?”

“Yes, PaPa loves fluffy!”

“Well then, I think I have all I need.  We won’t be long, but we will need to be in gift wrapping for a moment, so if you want to have a seat in the café we can meet you there.”

Mom was a little shocked and then quietly said “I’m sorry, she only has about $20 dollars and it is all in change in her back pack.  I don’t think that will be enough for two gifts and gift wrapping.”

The clerk was quick to respond, “Oh, I am sure we have more then enough.  My manager has just realized we may have incorrectly priced two very specific items, and they come with free gift-wrapping.  Now you run on upstairs, and no peeking!”

Mom turned back to me and said, “She wants to use her own money to buy a Christmas gift for my husband and I.  It is her first time shopping on her own.  She doesn’t want me to see what she gets us!”

I stood there for a second, reflecting on my stupid complaints just a few moments before.  I felt like such an ass.  I thanked her for changing my perspective on the Christmas season and asked if I could buy her a coffee.  She in-turn thanked me for obviously being concerned for her daughter and declined my offer of coffee.  She then said “For me, every day is like Christmas, my gift is a blessing.  I could not have asked for anything better!”  Then into the store she went, headed for the café I presume.

I went to my car, and wrote this down on a napkin so I would not forget.  (I don't think I got everything perfect, but you get the point)

So to you my wonderful readers!  We all get caught up in the season, and for whatever reason we get bogged down in traffic, bills, crowds, sales, and on and on…..However, I want you to remember LOVE is the greatest gift we can ever give.  It took a trip to the mall with no purchase, a special girl fighting a wall of indifference, and her amazing Mom (whose name I never got), to remind me of it.

Tomorrow I am going back with a nice note for the manager and the clerk, which completely slipped my mind until writing this blog. 

Stop taking things for granted.  Everything has value.

Oh, and SSG, I am getting a small note pad to take with me everywhere like you did in Paris.  Napkins just will not cut it in the future!

5 comments:

belladella December 5, 2008 at 4:36 AM  

Tears. Going for tissue be back soon...

What an amazing story. Thank you for having the kind heart that you do. The kind heart that allowed you to find out what was happening and share it with all of us. I have several members of my family that are special needs and I know this meant a lot to her mother. The folks in that store deserve a huge pat on the back. Please go back and thank them. Of course I know you will.

And fyi- I have a small digital camera and a journal in my bag with me at all times. It's fun. It brings back my days as a newspaper gal.

Love and hugs to you.

Cool Breeze December 5, 2008 at 5:51 AM  

Fantastic story. It is just the kick in the ass I needed today. Thank you for this.

Predo December 5, 2008 at 7:52 AM  

BellaDella - I already have a note ready for the store manager, and last night sent an online comment as well.

Thank you for your comments, I appreciate them. Jimmy spent several years working on a special program to assist these special individuals with jobs that could help them stand on their own. I also was very involved with these amazing people through my phych program. So, we both tend to keep an eye open, just in case. It is strange, but we both seem to have a sense about us now that I think you may understand. Please give your special relatives a big loving squeeze from the both of us and make sure they know they are loved!!! Thank you so much!!

Big Hair Envy December 5, 2008 at 7:22 PM  

What an awesome story. What's amazing to me is that all of this is going on around us while we rush from Point A to Point B. We are so self-absorbed that we don't notice the little bits of magic that occur every day. I am guilty. My Grinchiness has caused me to slow down a bit this year. I've decided to stop for a minute, and smell the roses.

(Sometimes!) Serendipitous Girl December 6, 2008 at 8:37 AM  

Dude, why you gotta make me CRY every time I come here! This was SOOOO sweet! You have to tell us the name of the store so we can write letters--was this at Washington Square?

On a side note--is your notebook going to be hot pink?

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