My entire life was caught up in a storm.
At least that’s how it felt as I slowly made my way through the front door of the grocery store, grocery list in hand.
One challenge after another in recent days had me feeling that the sun may never shine again. What I didn’t know then was that by the time I exited the store, through those same doors, in just 20 short minutes, my perspective on life and light and storms would change dramatically–all thanks to a stranger.
I meandered down the aisles, filling my cart with groceries, then headed to the checkout line. As the guy at the register scanned my items, he asked how I was doing.
“Fine, thanks,” I replied, with little emotion.
“Do you have any plans for the weekend?” he asked, with genuine interest.
“Not really,” I said shortly. “How about you?”
His reply caught me off guard.
He began sharing with me details about his day and the plans he had this weekend with his wife and in-laws.
As he spoke I thought about how friendly and easy-going he was. It didn’t take long for me to be able to see through his tough, tatooed, body-pierced image.
In an effort to continue the conversation, I mentioned a movie I had seen recently that was life-changing for me. He seemed interested and asked for the details. I explained that it was not a movie I would normally be drawn to, but that it appealed to me right now since I’ve been going through a hard time. He said that he could relate–that certain movies have affected him in positive ways during difficult times in his life.
As he finished packing my groceries, he glanced up at me.
“This may sound weird,” he said hesitantly, “but I’ll give you a hug if you’d like—since you’re going through a hard time. Would you like a hug?”
I looked at him closely, surprised that someone who appeared so hard around the edges could have such a tender heart.
“Sure,” I said, with a shrug of the shoulders and a half smile, “why not? I could use a hug today.”
He came from around the counter and gave me a friendly hug.
“Thank you,” I said as I turned to leave.
“You’re welcome,” he said, as he returned to his post behind the counter.
The store was crowded with busy shoppers and I wondered how many had witnessed this most remarkable exchange between strangers.
As I exited the store with a bright smile on my weary face and an unmistakeable twinkle in my eye, I realized that the load I had been carrying on my shoulders for the previous months was noticibly lighter.
There was light shining through the storm clouds, and a flicker of hope in my heart.
All thanks to the kindness of a stranger.
Who has touched your life in a positive way recently?
Read about another friendly encounter I had with a stranger at this same store HERE.