Grace was a sixty-something old lady who seemed to beeline right for me upon entering the store. She was looking for a puzzle for her husband. As we began our pilgrimage for this puzzle, (for which I had no idea where to start) Grace began to share with me her story…

Grace was a lady with great faith but with weakening strength. She explained to me how it was getting harder and sadder to walk her trail in life.

As I purposely sought to look her in the eye as she shared her story, the back of my mind raced with thoughts and prayers.”Just find me a puzzle!” my mind cried out.

We circled the store, engrossed in conversation but with no puzzles in sight, finally finding ourselves in the kids’ department. With all hope fading, there we finally stood directly in front of three different Veggie Tales puzzles.

I remember thinking, “Dear, Lord. You’ve got to be kidding, a VeggieTales puzzle? That’s all we have to offer her?”

Grace then pointed to the Bob the Tomato puzzle and said that it would be perfect.

“He will like this one.”

You see, Grace’s husband of many years had Alzheimer’s Disease and she had thought a puzzle would be very fun for him as well as therapeutic. With a pause and a glance past my shoulder, Grace shared with me quietly how in years past, her husband always used to surprise her with her favorite plant….the tomato plant.

How many Grace’s will you come across today? They are there…do you see them?

One of the great opportunities you have in the service industry is that you have the ability to go home each night with stories such as this one, freshly written on your hearts. The trick, however, is to be looking for them.

Not often will they be found behind a counter or while you are working hard to finish that project.

Too often our days fly by in a blur, or we get too busy with the “important things.” Often, as we do these “things”, the stories come and go.

Do you hate your job? Then maybe you need to become a storyteller? When the focus becomes the other and no longer you… you may just find yourself excited to go find that next story to tell.

After all, these stories represent your paycheck. If you don’t want to tell them, someone else will… down the street at the competitor’s shop.

Are you a storyteller? If not, why not start today?

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One response »

  1. Great story! Thanks for sharing it.

    I’ve just finished my book about working as a retail associate — and I had many experiences like this. It’s what I loved most about that work, connecting deeply with people and their needs, not just handing them a product. Shoppers come to us with much more than a need for an item, but the need to be listened to sensitively and understood.

    You were both fortunate to share that moment.

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