Once again Gracie and I get to enjoy the company of the three goldens – this time for two weeks. I picked them up on Sunday evening. Their companion person, Barry has gone out of town, attending a family reunion and spending some time with his brother and his family.
Barry asked if I would be able to drop him off at the airport this morning and that worked out fine with my schedule. We agreed on a time and as I set out for his house a little early I decided to stop to get some gasoline.
As I was filling the tank my phone rang. It was Barry. He was running late and asked me to give him an extra twenty to thirty minutes. At that point I was only about ten minutes away. So I decided to stop at Pet Smart which was on the way and pick up some additional treats for all four of the puppies.
I know the store quite well so I went directly to the treats aisle and got in line with my two items. A lady whom I thought might be a few years older than I was returning some canned cat food which apparently her cat didn’t like and had substituted different cans of cat food in their place. Because all of the 10 cans were different flavors, the return for each one had to be rung up separately.
(If you ever want to kill an extra fifteen minutes, follow me to the check out line. I guarantee you that someone ahead of us will have a complicated problem).
As I was waiting to pay for my purchases, a man in a motorized wheelchair came into the store with his service dog. She appeared to me to be a Labrador mixture and was wearing boots on all four paws to protect her from the heat of the concrete pavement. The man appeared to be in his mid to late thirties and had lost his right arm above the elbow.
He powered his chair and his dog to the other cashier’s station and when she looked at him he asked, “Could you please tell me how much it would cost to give my dog a bath?” The cashier who must be new since I am in the store frequently and didn’t recognize her said, “You have to ask the people in grooming,” and she pointed to the window just behind the checkout lines where the grooming department operated. The man thanked her and started for the door that opened into the world of dog bathing and clipping.
I realized that with only his left hand which he used to operate his chair, he was going to have some difficulty opening the door and navigating both himself and his dog through it. So I stepped out of line and offered to hold the door for him which he appreciated.
When I got back to my place a few seconds later, I noticed that the cashier who had directed him to the grooming department was going on break because she had turned off her light and was leaving her register.
The lady ahead of me still had a few cans to get refunded. She turned to me and said, “That was very nice of you to help that man. People don’t seem to be very thoughtful of others anymore.” I thanked her and just said, “It’s really nothing special. It’s just the way that I was raised.”
But I went on and said, “You know both my parents were in businesses where providing excellent customer service was important– and that is how I spent most of my working life as well.”
“If I were the cashier whom the man asked for help, seeing his condition and realizing that there were several groomers who were available to assist him, I would have picked up the telephone by my register and asked one of them to come out to help him, rather than make him navigate through a narrow doorway in a wheelchair.”
I said that for two reasons. First, that is what I would have done if I were that cashier. Second, I hoped that my cashier would pick up on the idea should a similar situation ever occur to her – or perhaps she might mention the comment to her co-worker.
The lady completed her transaction and I mine and I headed over to Barry’s. Traffic was light and despite our delay in starting out he had more than enough time to catch his plane.
When I got home, Gracie and the three goldens were, as is inevitably the case, at the door to greet me. You would have thought that I had left them for two weeks rather than little more than an hour. Barking and jumping and tail-wagging and face-licking were the order of the moment. And I thought about the lady’s comment at the store. “People don’t seem to be very thoughtful of others anymore.” Sadly, I have to agree with her.
I guess that’s why I’ve always surrounded myself with those who truly are my best friends – my dogs. We could learn a lot about the way we should treat each other from the way that they treat us.