Stories of Kindness from Around the World

A Supermarket Checkout Operator with a Special Touch

--by wayfarer, posted Jan 14, 2010

I had posted an earlier story about a supermarket checkout operator who had risked her job to help an old man find his wife’s favourite talc. 

Well, I was in her queue again today. In front of us were a woman and her young (maybe around 10 year old) daughter. As part of their shopping they were buying a DVD which had to be brought from elsewhere in the shop.


While the chechkout operator was scanning and bagging the rest of the shopping she chatted with the mother about Easter eggs, grandkids and other stuff.


I just happened to be looking at the daughter when another member of staff brought her the DVD. The girl’s face really lit up with delight and appreciation. Sad to say, it’s not a sight you see so often.


When it came my turn to be served I commented on the girl’s obvious happiness with her DVD. “She has special needs,” the checkout operator told me. “I’m not sure what the problem is, but …”


She went on to explain that problems had arisen in the past with checkout operators holding things too long, folding things the “wrong” way, and so on. Minor incidents like those had been known to really upset the girl. And, of course, that upset the mother.


But there hadn’t been any sign of upset. How had they got over the problem? Now, it seems, the mum always brings her daughter and her trolley to the same checkout. (The checkout where my favourite operator works.) No matter how long the queue.


“I know what’s “allowed”,” my friend said. But there had been no hint of any special considerations while I watched. All I saw was friendly chatter, a comfortable mother and a very happy girl! It was nothing much, but at the same time it was a big deal. It was a moment of love and kindness that would have passed me by if I hadn’t taken the time to chat.


How wonderful, I thought, to be the person that people with problems seek out, because they just know that you will ease them through the day with a smile. 


Of course I told her that! And she just waved it away with a smile.


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Readers Comments

Denise wrote: As a person with special needs i do go to those casheers who are patient with me or aren't afraid of my husband's guide dog. I appreciate their kindness.
Jacinda wrote: Wonderful story wayfarer! Yes i agree it's another awesome story by you :) thanks so much for sharing! I hope you have a wonderful friday :) love & smiles, jacinda :)
iferlamb wrote: Wonderful story! It is nice to take the time to show appreciation!

warmth wrote: Very nice
elspeth wrote: Sounds like this checker offered common courtesy and old-fashioned customer service - when i run across someone who makes this kind of effort to be friendly and helpful, i try to get in their line, too. A genuine smile from the person waiting on you, or a comment meant just for you like "stay warm" or "enjoy that movie" means much more than the insincere "thankyouandhaveawonderfulday" that some checkers/servers/etc use on everyone.

elspeth wrote: Apropos, several years ago i did telephone questionaires with car salesmen about a certain make of car. I was required to give my first name when i started the survey and i noted that, at the end of the (of course) unnecessarily long and tedious survey, the salesman always called me by name when saying goodbye. Now, anyone who has ever had to do any kind of phone work knows that almost no one wants to take a survey (these guys were apparently required to do so, since i was sometimes put off till later, but never turned down) and it seems everyone thinks that surveyers or telemarketers are harrassing them personally - so, it was certainly nice to have someone thank me, by name, for taking up their time with a most irritating survey. Anyway, long after that job ended, i started making a point of jotting down the name of the customer service person i might be telephoning - the bank, the phone or cable company, etc - and being sure to use that person's name when saying goodbye - if i forget, i will ask them who i am talking to, and then i thank that person by name - "well, kathy, i appreciate your helping me with that" or "if i need to call back, can i ask for you, john? " i almost never can get the same person again, but i hope it makes them feel appreciated. I know how rude and abusive people can be over the phone, when they feel protected by not being visible. And i think a little thing like having your name remembered makes one feel better.
kiteflier wrote: It's so difficult to find a friendly and caring service staff now. Thanks for sharing and hopefully there will be more of such people out there! (:
Tina wrote: I admit that i have favorite cashiers at certain stores, too. I can always count on a pleasant greeting and great service.

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