Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Compassion in Action at a Nursing Home

--by kathy2, posted May 4, 2008

A few years ago, I was working "on loan" to a company grocery store, as they were short-handed during the Christmas Holidays. I was not used to the management nor the clientele at this unit.  As I was checking groceries that morning, an elderly man in a wheelchair came through my checkstand with a basket filled with candy, cigars, and a few trinkets. As I finished ringing up his purchases, I told the man the dollar amount and he presented an out-of-state check from his son. He explained to me that his son had sent him the check for his Christmas present and he wanted to use it to purchase gifts for the friends and wonderful staff at the nursing home located a few blocks behind the store where he resided.

Since this was not my "home" store, I needed to have the check approved prior to accepting it. When the person in charge came over, she looked annoyed and proceeded to tell the gentleman that it was out of the question, in a very rude and condescending manner. She informed the gentleman he would just have to go to a bank and get them to cash the out-of- state check. The elderly gentleman started to softly cry as he looked up at me and appologized for being unable to pay his bill.

I think my heart stopped, I could only think this man could be my grandfather.  I am sure he was a wonderful functioning member of our society before he was left incapacitated by illness and old age. I was so affected by his kindness and look of gentleness on the man's face, and couldn't believe the unfeeling way the young manager had denied the gentleman's request. I wept while trying to check out the next few customers.

That night when I got home, I told my young daughter that we had a few errands to run.  I went to a grocery store in our area and duplicated the gentleman's order almost to a "T" with some extra goodies just for him.  We drove the miles to find the nursing home behind the store I had worked in that day.  Luckily, the home was easy to find, but I was just hoping it would be just as easy to find the gentleman.  There were Christmas decorations shining, and carolers entertaining the residents at the home when my daughter and I arrived. I discribed the man to a nurse sitting at the desk and she told me I was in luck.  There were only a few male residents in the home and she knew just who I was talking about. She escorted us to the man's room, where he was sleeping.

As I gently touched the man's hand, he awakened and looked at me in surprise. I said, "Sir, you probably do not remember me, but I am the lady who checked your items out at the grocery store today." I handed him a basket filled with all the things he wished to purchase that day.  He looked up at me, looked to my daughter, and then to the nurse who had accompanied us to his room.  In a quivering voice, he said to the nurse, "Oh my, God sent me an angel," and he started to weep. I leaned down and kissed his forehead.  I turned to my daughter, who stood there in awe of the feeling in the room.  I gently took her hand and left as I could no longer contain my tears.

Out in the car it was a long time before my young daughter said anything to me.  She hugged me and said that was the best present she could ever imagine. Even though we were the ones who took the gifts to the elderly gentleman that day, I was so grateful that fate had brought him to my checkstand. I was the one who was truly blessed by the opportunity to give.

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Readers Comments

AS wrote: Beautiful. Most wonderful!
Holly wrote: All of us who read this story will carry it in our hearts. Thank you for sharing.
Kirsty wrote: So beautiful. I have tears in my eyes. Xoxo
bharnig wrote: Dear angels we are indeed blessed to hear this from you. God bless!
cindy wrote: Wow how awesome!
cindy wrote: Wow how awesome!
praveendm wrote: You are truly blessed .. God Bless you..
astrocrazy2005 wrote: i have tears in my eyes...
its one of the best stories I have read..
May god bless u:)
suzabella wrote: I work as a Adult Ed Teacher full time and you have the "gift" also have stumbled upon a the amazing people in the world...our seniors. God Bless you and your sweet soul; pass it on....
akbj wrote: Very beautiful story. That man's kindness touched you to reach out to him, & your actions touched your daughter. All of you in a special circle. Thank you

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