After working one of the busiest weekends I have worked in a while I finally had a day off today. It was nice to be able to get caught up on all the things around the house and spend some time with my kids.
Today I had a lot to do. I had to clean a little, wait for the air conditioning man to come and clean our coils, do a little writing and also pick up food for dinner.
So after I worked out today I ran over to the grocery store. I got a couple of things like dinner, some vegetables, water and a pack of paper towels. Nothing major but things we needed. While waiting in line I was checking a few emails on my phone when I heard the bagger ask me if I needed help out.
I never take them up on their offer. I always smile and say no thank you. I know they have to ask so I am always cordial.
Except today the bagger asked me again. He said, “Ummm, are you sure?” I stopped reading my emails for a second and looked up. I saw an old man I have seen numerous times before. His name is George. I know this because he had a big button that said George. On the other side of his shirt he had a button that said he does not accept tips.
I have had grocery carts full before with kids screaming and I never wanted help to my car. Today with my two light bags I decided to get help. I handed my bags to George and we walked to my car.
I told him my name and then asked how long he has worked here. He told me thirteen years. Before that he worked in transit for sixteen years. I did not ask him where he worked before that because we were already at my car.
He put the two bags in my car and I thanked him. Then I asked him if I could tip him. He told me no. I told him I would not tell anyone because I knew he could get in trouble. He told me no. Before I could ask him one more time he stopped me…
“Tony. In 1998 I was going through chemo. The doctor went to my wife. He pulled her aside and told her that if I lived for five more years I would be extremely lucky. So five years past. Then ten. Then fifteen. I live every single day to help people. There is no amount of money you could give me that is better than life. I truly appreciate it, but I love my job and helping people is my passion.”
He extended his hand and I proudly shook it. I told him thank you and he went back to the store.
I stress out about so much in my life. I stress about my wife and my kids. I stress about work and writing. I worry a lot. I strive to be better each and every day.
I think sometimes I need to take a step back and really see what I have already built. I have good kids. I have a wonderful wife. My job is pretty good and my writing is getting better with each post.
There was truly no reason that George needed to take my bags to my car. He wanted to. He takes pride in his job. His job as a bagger. Where people probably get mad when he bags things “wrong” and when he is not in the right checkout lane. He was in the best mood and everyone around him seemed to love him.
He reminded me of my dad.
My dad is a cancer survivor as well.
I want to thank George at Publix for making my day. For sharing a part of his life with me that helped me connect my life. I sent this letter to their corporate office and they are going to send it to George’s store manager.
It is funny. Just by picking up two bags and putting them in my car, George can change lives.