Sometimes I think working in grocery isn’t very glamorous: stocking shelves and scanning barcodes. But today one of my favorite customers shared with me that his wife had died in November. He hesitated to say it, and I could tell it wasn’t something that he brings up easily. But he did. He invited me into that very personal, and very tender part of his life. He did so because we have a relationship. There’s a significant value in our simple interactions as a grocery-store-employee and a grocery-store-customer.
There is something magnificent about showing up every day and just attending to a small aspect of people’s lives. We became friends because I showed him pictures of the house I was building, and he showed me pictures of the greenhouse he was constructing. Ever since we check in to see how the other person is and what they are up to. It’s such an unspectacular thing, but that doesn’t make it unimportant. I carried that weight of his tragedy for a good few hours through my day, and it makes me appreciate these small and strong connections we make with the people whom we encounter. Working in grocery might not be glamorous, but showing up for people – wherever that is, and whatever that entails – is a mighty thing. Sometimes [along with your immensely insufficient, but deeply heartfelt “I’m sorry”] a person just needs you to provide them with some carrot juice and vodka.