As most moms do with kids in tow, Sarah Owen Bigler was hoping to get in and OUT when she entered her local Target to pick up a few things.
On top of having the kids with her after her long day at work, her husband was sick. Needless to say, she was ready to get home.
But when she entered the checkout line, she realized her rush was about to be put to a halt real quick as she watched an elderly lady count out coins one by one. On top of that, she was paying for each item separately. Talk about a slow-down double whammy.
“Part of me, the part that had a long day at work, the part of me who had a 1 1/2 year old having a melt down in the cart, the part that had set an unnecessary timeline for Target and getting home, was frustrated with this woman and the inconvenience she had placed on me,” wrote Sarah in a Facebook post.
She got into line with 1 person in it—ONE. And of course this is the luck she would have.
But as she began to watch the process in front of her more closely, her heart began to change. She started watching the reaction of the employee helping the woman and was completely in awe at his patience.
“I watched him help her count her change, ever so tenderly taking it from her shaking hands,” she shared. “I listened to him repeatedly saying “yes, mam” to her. When she asked if she had enough to buy a reusable bag, he told her she did and went two lines over to get one for her and then repackaged her items. Never once did this employee huff, gruff or roll his eyes. He was nothing but patient and kind.”
And as she watched him, she noticed who else was peering over the counter transfixed on the interaction between these two strangers: her daughter Eloise.
It was then that she realized there was more to this Target run than meets the eye. She was here, in this moment for a reason.
“She was standing next to the woman, watching the employee count the change,” wrote Sarah. “I realized I hadn’t been inconvenienced at all. That my daughter was instead witnessing kindness and patience and being taught this valuable lesson by a complete stranger; furthermore, I realized that I too needed a refresher on this lesson.”
As the woman finished up, the employee kindly greeted Sarah and thanked her for being patient. In return, she thanked him for teaching her and her daughter a lesson that they well never forget.
Though her time spent at Target was long overdue, Sarah began searching the store for a manager.
“I wanted her to know of the employee’s, kindness and patience, and how much it meant to me,” she wrote. “After tracking her down and sharing the story with her, we left Target with a cart full of consumable items, but what is more a heart full of gratitude for such an invaluable lesson.”
What remarkable lessons we can learn at times when we least expect it. It often seems as though God shows up to nudge us with His “why we’re really here” reminders when we’re irritated, pressed for time, tired, or at the end of our ropes. But somehow, those are the kind that stick.
Sarah ended her heartwarming post in saying, “If you are ever in the Glendale Target, give Ishmael a smile and a nod. The world could use more people like him.”
Yes, we SURE could. Thanks, Ishmael, for teaching us that patience is a virtue we all could use a little more of as we serve the people around us…who matter so much more than the items in our grocery carts.