We all tell them. Some of them have more truth to them than others. Sometimes the most horrible stories are the ones we tell ourselves.
But there is no doubt that stories are an integral part of human civilization.
I learned long ago, for whatever reason, people tell me their stories. I’ve written before about stories, and if you like, you can also read Everyone Has a Story and The Stories We Tell and the Stories We Don’t.
Yesterday, I met a man who shared part of his story with me. It was a polite, casual conversation, but the significance of it was not lost on me. Stories are life. Stories are recollections of where we have been, and guidance for where we are going.
So, I met this man at the grocery store. He is an older gentleman, and he skillfully, and mindfully places my groceries into my reusable Chico bags. Then he surprises me when the transaction is complete. He takes the cart that he’s placed my bags in, and heads for the door.
He’s going to take my groceries to the car for me!
I should mention that I am currently in Florida, and this man works for a chain of grocery stores called Publix.
If you have not had the pleasure of shopping at Publix, I highly recommend it.
I said to the man, “I haven’t had someone take my groceries to the car since I lived in the Midwest!”
He replied that it was one thing that sets them (Publix) apart from other stores.
At that, I chuckled as I said, “Well, that and the best Key Lime Pie I’ve ever had!”
The conversation then progressed to how lemon meringue was his favorite and Publix’s version is not quite as good as a chain restaurant he frequents.
He then told me about his time as a cook in the Royal Navy, and how very fresh ingredients make all the different in cooking, as well as in pie,
This man shared part of himself with me, and spoke of how proud he was to have spent 16 years (so far) working for this company because of what they give back to people.
I got so much more than just groceries delivered to my car. I got a reminder of the goodness of humanity. I received, just a glimpse into the heart of a man who loves lemon meringue, and being of service to others with grace, respect, and kindness.
I think I would have enjoyed a much longer conversation with this man. I have a feeling he has an abundance of interesting stories. Yet I am truly grateful for the experience, and for the small reminder that goodness abounds in this world, simple pleasures, like a favorite pie, can brighten any day, and that when we are brave enough to share just a little bit of ourselves, authentically, we are often rewarded beyond measure.
And, I should have picked up one of those key lime pies while I was there…